Video: Community Driven

College senior Emily Goshey explores the Philadelphia Muslim culture.

Monday, December 10, 2012

By Blake Cole

As a double major in Religious Studies and Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, concentrating on Arabic and Islamic Studies, Emily Goshey, C’13, was accustomed to immersing herself in other cultures while in the classroom. But as she was exposed to more and more of the curriculum, she realized something was missing. “I started noticing that the Muslims we were learning about in the classroom didn't match up with the Muslims in my neighborhood,” says Goshey. “We learned about Arab Muslims, South Asian Muslims, African Muslims, but we never talked about African-American Muslims.”

After speaking with her professors, it became clear to Goshey that there was real need for research on the African-American Muslim community. With the help of her mentor, Associate Director of Asian-American Studies Fariha Khan—an expert in fieldwork, American Muslim groups and American minority communities—Goshey met with representatives from the community to chronicle their experience. “Imagine a female Caucasian non-Muslim from Minnesota researching the African-American Muslims of Philadelphia,” says Goshey. “Obviously, there was a lot of initial suspicion about why I wanted to be there.”

But Goshey found that once the interviews began she had very little difficulty building the relationships necessary to conduct her research. “I decided to focus my research on the female experience since I had the rare opportunity to see into the female-only space,” she says. Looking ahead, Goshey hopes to complete a Ph.D. in Islamic Studies and continue her research on minority religious communities.

Delve deeper into Goshey’s research by watching the video below: