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A Return to God? Muslim Youth, Education, Politics, and Identity in a Post-Modern World

Global Education Colloquium

January 20, 2015
Ameena Ghaffar-Kucher, Ed.D., University of Pennsylvania

Across the world, we are witnessing a revival of religion, especially among Muslim youth, but what it means must be contextualized across different spaces, places and process of social incorporation. This research examines the role of growing religiosity among youth in Pakistan, a country that defines itself as an Islamic republic and where Muslim youth are in the majority, and Muslim immigrant experiences in the US, a secular state where Islamic religiosity may be less understood or welcomed. Drawing on ethnographic data collected in US public schools and textbook analysis of Pakistani school curriculum, this research examines the differential experiences of majority and minority Muslim youth in trans-national contexts. Findings indicate that youth sense of “belonging” intersects with educational experiences, political and religious identity, and notions of citizenship. Findings indicate a re-reading of religiosity is needed by researchers and policy makers in order to better inform our understandings of politics, nationalism, citizenship, and education, particularly among Muslim communities.

About the Speaker

Ameena Ghaffar-Kucher is a Senior Lecturer in the Education, Culture and Society division at the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education where she is also the Associate Director of the International Educational Development Program.  Her research interests include immigrants and education, trans/nationalism and citizenship, educational policy, youth cultures, and religion in education.  Her practitioner work has focused on school climate, teacher education, curriculum development and pedagogy.