Language, Literacy, and Sociocultural Studies ETDs

Publication Date



The events and aftermath of 9/11 continue to cause life changes for many Americans, particularly Muslim American students who have experienced socio-cultural and pedagogic exclusion, harassment and discrimination due to ignorance and misunderstandings. Teachers must inform their students about 9/11 and the War on Terror to eliminate misunderstandings and intolerance towards a vulnerable population. In spite of its importance, many schools have not implemented the topic as part of their curricula. It is not even included as part of social studies state standards. Recent editions of US history textbooks include some information about 9/11 and the War on Terror that seems one sided. This absence begs the question of how do teachers instruct about these topics? Further,\xa0how do Muslim American students under new scrutiny negotiate their identity and cultural citizenship at schools and in general society? \xa0Also, what is\xa0the impact of Islamophobia, government policies, social and cultural practices, and the War on Terror on their education, identity, citizenship, and sense of belonging? Guided by an anti-imperial perspective, critical pedagogy, and anti-Islamophobia framework, this dissertation contributes to post 9/11 area studies. This research interviewed 9 diverse Muslim American students about their social, cultural, and educational experiences post 9/11 and about how these experiences impacted their religious and national identity and sense of belonging as Muslim Americans. Furthermore, from interviews with 5 teachers from different high schools in New Mexixco the study investigated teachers' 9/11 and War on Terror pedagogy. They discussed how they taught about post 9/11, the controversies they faced, resources they used, and how they plan to re-teach the topics in the future. Along with this qualitative approach, content analysis of six commonly used 11th grade US history textbooks was applied to examine the representation of 9/11 and the War on Terror. This approach helped provide some important context for how the categories of nationalism, citizenship, and outsider are constructed. This study challenges systems of oppression that propagate Islamophobia in American society, discriminate against Muslim Americans, and portray them as violent and less valuable American citizens. Furthermore, this study informs teachers' curriculum and material choices such that misrepresentations about Islam and Muslims are mitigated. Finally, this project presents suggestions for a critical anti-Islamophobic, anti-imperialist educational initiative for educators to teach about 9/11 and its aftermath in a way that challenges Islamophobia and alleviates misconceptions about Islam and Muslims.


Muslims, Islamophobia, 9/11, War on Terror, Pedagogy, Citizenship, Belonging


Helen and Wilson Howard Ivins Doctoral Scholarship

Document Type




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Level of Degree


Department Name

Language, Literacy, and Sociocultural Studies

First Committee Member (Chair)

Zine, Jasmin

Second Committee Member

Gasim, Gamal

Third Committee Member

Pence, Lucretia