STRANGERS IN A STRANGER LAND: LIVING HISTORY AND TRADITION IN THE LIVES OF ARAB-AMERICANS
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Immigrants have been a part of the American story since the founding of the US state. However, while these experiences have undergone a transformation in the last forty years due to technological shifts and transformations, theories of immigration and assimilation have failed to address and account for this shift and the newly arriving communities from non-European, and non-Christian states. This project examines the shifting ground of immigration by looking identity issues of the Arab-American community of Pugetopolis in order to understand how they make sense of Arab, Arab-American, and American identity. Through interviews, observations, and conversations over a two year period, I find that Arab-Americans, while accommodating aspects of American life, are still seeking cohesion and preservation of identity against American cultural hegemony. This is done primarily through references to tradition and history in order to create a bulwark of identity from which Arab-American can assert and maintain a strong sense of self.