Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Dr. Robert Ulin

Second Advisor

Dr. Arthur Helweg

Third Advisor

Dr. Ann Miles

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


This thesis explores the making of Jordanian American national identity in Michigan. Moreover, it examines the notion of national identity in transnational spaces in relation to what Brian Schiff has metaphorically referred to as "cultural currents," comprised of values, symbols, political philosophies, habits, etc. of social actors. How do various cultural currents influence the way in which people talk and think about themselves in national terms? Why is national identity a meaningful concept, and how is it influenced by culture and ethnicity? To what degree do entities such as the state hold influence over national identity, especially in the case of Jordan which was created by colonial powers as a Levantine buffer state in the mid-twentieth century? What role does history play in the construction of national identity on the transnational level? This paper argues that Jordanian American identity in Michigan is being made within conflicting American currents, some of which are inherently anti-Arab. National identity-making processes are examined in the context of southeast Michigan's concentrated Arab community, and in light of inconstant definitions of "Jordanian" and "Palestinian" in Jordan itself.

Included in

Anthropology Commons