Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2013

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Religious Studies

First Advisor

Deborah F. Whitehead

Second Advisor

Ruth Mas

Third Advisor

Nabil Echchaibi

Abstract

Islam has become one of the fastest growing religions in the U.S., particularly among young white women. As these women have turned to online media for information about Islam, a burgeoning community has emerged, specifically on YouTube. This study analyzes elements of this community: the aesthetics of the videos, the women who are creating the videos, the narratives within the videos, and the interactions that occur in the comment sections. These videos are about more than just sharing a conversion narrative, but also the women in the videos are able to embody Islamic material forms and to visually represent themselves as Muslim. The viewers can post comments that reinforce this Islamic identity. While the religious subject is still constituted through material forms and discourse, the affordances of the YouTube medium, particularly the aesthetic style and authentic interactions, allow for the video-maker to represent herself as a Muslim.

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