Giroir, S. (2014). Narratives of participation, identity, and positionality: Two cases of Saudi learners of English in the United States. TESOL Quarterly, 48(1), 34-56.
How did race and identity of Arab Muslims impact the position they adopted in relation to the host community in the US after the September 11th attack? How did such individuals overcome the complexities brought about by the notions of their culture in different conversations and to participate actively in the world surrounding them? Giroir’s study uses data from a larger research project that collected data from stories told by nine adult Muslim learners about their experiences in the US. The researcher played the role of both a participant as well as an observer. Her participation was important given that apart from helping her familiarize with the participants, it informed her data collection tools. For six months, the researcher used oral photo narratives, interviews, and classroom observations to collect data. Since data collection took the form of a storyline, the researcher applied narrative inquiry during data analysis. The findings obtained revealed that the post 9/11 context became a major sidelining factor that interfered with L2 participation of Muslim students of Arab ancestry. To achieve full participation with the host community, the two cases investigated had to bow their identities and present themselves as “international student others” to be viewed by the larger community in a given way. Moreover, results obtained indicate that the experiences of Muslim students such as those from Saudi Arabia in post 9/11 context are not homogeneous. While some individuals were discriminated against based on their race, others were victimized due to their ethnic or religious identities. Giroir’s study is helpful in understanding the impact of the identity and race of Muslim learners and the way these factors affect their learning and participation, especially in post 9/11 context. Research Annotation