Skip to main content

Double Consciousness: How Pakistani Graduate Students Navigate Their Contested Identities in American Universities

Abstract

This chapter uses the case of Pakistani graduate students to understand how international students in the U.S. comprehend and deal with discrimination in the host society, which can illuminate larger processes of othering, identity development, and contestation. Using qualitative interviews of 28 Pakistani graduate students (13 female and 15 male) studying in the U.S., I conceptualize the analytical strategies adopted by international students to deal with discrimination in the host culture. I use the DuBoisian notion of double consciousness to theorize how Pakistani graduate students see their religious and national identity from the host culture’s perspective. The students not only see their Muslim and Pakistani identity through their own eyes but also see these identities challenged within the context of the War on Terror, hence embodying a sense of double consciousness in the host society, and struggle constantly as they challenge and negotiate the negative constructs surrounding them. Pakistani graduate students navigate within the constructs of terrorism when their religiosity and nationality are revealed to the dominant group. They negotiate these identities by having a deeper understanding of worldviews on the War on Terror, enabling them to overcome and deal with the conflicting circumstances challenging their nationality and religiosity in the host culture.

Keywords

  • Double Consciousness
  • Host Culture
  • Host Society
  • Pakistani Identity
  • International Students

These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Buying options

Chapter
USD   29.95
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-60394-0_6
  • Chapter length: 19 pages
  • Instant PDF download
  • Readable on all devices
  • Own it forever
  • Exclusive offer for individuals only
  • Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout
eBook
USD   109.00
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • ISBN: 978-3-319-60394-0
  • Instant PDF download
  • Readable on all devices
  • Own it forever
  • Exclusive offer for individuals only
  • Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout
Softcover Book
USD   149.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
Hardcover Book
USD   149.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)

Notes

  1. 1.

    Pakistan is a Muslim-majority country, and 95% of the population adheres to the Islamic faith, while the remaining 5% minorities practice Christianity and Hinduism (CIA 2010).

  2. 2.

    NY Daily News May 2010 “Times Square bomb suspect Faisal Shahzad ‘was just a normal dude’ before making neighbors suspicious” http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/times-square-bomb-suspect-faisal-shahzad-normal-dude-making-neighbors-suspicious-article-1.444286

  3. 3.

    I use the National Geographic outline maps for the regional distribution of the U.S. http://education.nationalgeographic.com/maps/united-states-regions

References

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Maheen Haider .

Editor information

Editors and Affiliations

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

Copyright information

© 2018 Springer International Publishing AG

About this chapter

Cite this chapter

Haider, M. (2018). Double Consciousness: How Pakistani Graduate Students Navigate Their Contested Identities in American Universities. In: Ma, Y., Garcia-Murillo, M. (eds) Understanding International Students from Asia in American Universities. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-60394-0_6

Download citation

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-60394-0_6

  • Published:

  • Publisher Name: Springer, Cham

  • Print ISBN: 978-3-319-60392-6

  • Online ISBN: 978-3-319-60394-0

  • eBook Packages: EducationEducation (R0)