Access Type

Open Access Dissertation

Date of Award

January 2020

Degree Type


Degree Name




First Advisor

Sarika . Chandra


The Politics of Hijab in American Culture analyzes the relationship between hijab and US imperialism in contemporary American culture. This project examines the ways in which neoliberal notions of freedom work through discourse on hijab in the U.S. from the vantage point of narratives produced by individuals invested in Muslim American identity. What emerges is a liberated/dominated Muslim woman figure which, I argue, justifies U.S. practices overseas. By looking at how hijab is situated in narratives produced for self-representation of Muslim American identity in the U.S., this project demonstrates the ways in which American imperialism operates such that those marginalized are conditioned to resist through the same language that subjugates them. This work critiques current critical discourse on Muslim women identity that remains circumscribed to discussions of representations, arguing that such theoretical frameworks offer a limited understanding of the stakes involved in investing in neoliberal notions of freedom and identity politics. My analysis shows the limitations of these models, and makes clear that this representational inclusion accompanied with choice and freedoms is to be better understood materially through a socio-political and economic framework.