By Farha Ternikar, PhD, Associate Professor of Sociology, Le Moyne College, USA
This new project seeks to explore how we can begin to theorize how Muslim American immigrant women construct an American Muslim identity through maintaining halal foodways. In particular, it intends to understand how race, class, gender, immigrant status and religion all shape how Muslim American women construct a halal kitchen by a closer examination of how South Asian Muslim American (SAMA) immigrants use foodways. This paper also builds on the work of the intersectional feminist work in food studies. Though initially popularized by Kimberly Crenshaw and Patricia Hill Collins, an understanding of intersectionality that includes race, class, and gender helps broaden our understanding of how intersectionality can be expanded to include religion, culture and immigration in the contemporary context to understand why food is an important place that we can study these interlocking social factors. Forson-Williams explains that applying intersectionality helps reveal difference but also highlights advantages for the dominant groups.