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Abstract

In a post-9/11 world, Muslims and Muslim-looking individuals are perceived as a homogenous group characterized as violent, oppressive, and barbaric. Conflating Islam with negative traits both corroborates and instigates the dominant hegemonic forces, which serve as the filter through which and the context within which identities are formed. In order to destabilize these hegemonic beliefs, this paper builds upon James Paul Gee’s (2001) identity theory, specifically what he terms “new capitalism.” This review finds Gee’s identity theory particularly salient in the current political moment in which Muslims and Muslim-looking individuals feel rejected and Othered in the United States. However, some short-comings were identified. To address them, other scholars such as Jasmine Zine and bell hooks are drawn into the conversation, and a new addition to Gee’s theory is suggested – that of hegemonic perspective, or H-Identity. Through greater focus on and isolation of the hegemonic forces which undergird identity formation, scholars will be better equipped to evaluate the impact of hegemony on religiously diverse individuals and minority groups. Further research on the role of hegemony in the construction of identity among minorities targeted by hegemonic forces is needed. This review may be useful in diverse psychological, political, or educational settings.

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