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When ‘White Devils’ Join the Deen: White American Converts to Islam and the Experience of Non-Normative Whiteness.

Abstract : This paper focuses on white converts to Islam as anomalous individuals in a world where race and faith have become closely intertwined. Because they disrupt classic understandings of whiteness and enter a setting, the Muslim community, where whiteness is neither unmarked nor dominant, I argue that white converts to Islam can be characterized as “non normative whites.” I show that, by virtue of their discordant racial and religious identities, white converts to Islam develop a form of reflexivity that sheds light on the underlying assumptions attached to white skin in America. Using ethnography and in depth interviewing with 42 converts, I thus explore how non normative whites relate to their own whiteness. I demonstrate that whites too are subjected to racial objectification, although in ambivalent and at timescontradictory ways. The last part of the paper examines the daily strateg ies used by white converts to maneuver their whiteness and defuse racial tensions within the Muslim community. The wide range of interpretive repertoires they employ presents a picture of whiteness that is more complex than what most academic studies make it seem.
Mots-clés : Sociologie
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Juliette Galonnier. When ‘White Devils’ Join the Deen: White American Converts to Islam and the Experience of Non-Normative Whiteness.. 2015. ⟨hal-01422847v2⟩

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