The Transnational Experiences of Libyan Sojourner Women in the United States

Date
2019
Authors
Saadi, Hanan
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Abstract

Because of the limited research about Libyan women in the U.S., this phenomenological study explored Libyan women's experiences in the United States and aimed to understand and shed light on their transnational practices. The ultimate goal for the dissertation was to express the transnational journey through their narration. In the following chapters, I highlighted the significance of conducting this research. First, I introduced the investment in the study. Second, I reviewed the theoretical framework of transnationalism and discussed extensively the term and its practices across interdisciplinary studies. Third, I explained phenomenology as a research methodology that delivers the real experience as narrated by the participants. When analyzing the data, I came up with six major themes that investigated the transnational practices and challenges Libyan women experience in the U.S. These themes are: 1) Libyan women under Trumpism; 2) Racism and discrimination experienced by Libyan women in the U.S.; 3) Cultural and religious conflict experienced by Libyan women in the U.S.; 4) Being a Libyan women as a wife, worker, and student; 5) Linguistic challenges while living in the U.S. as transnational Libyan women; and 6) Developing a sense of belonging in a transnational Libyan community. Those themes include subthemes, which provide in-depth analysis for the women's transnational lived experiences. The discussion of the themes showed that Libyan women in the United States experienced varied levels of challenges, ranging from being affected by Trump's rhetoric and his executive orders to the macro- and micro-aggressions they and their children endure within U.S. institutions. On a familial level, they struggled with raising their children in terms of maintaining their native language and practicing religion, where private Islamic schooling was not an option for them due to the expensive enrollment prices. The data demonstrated that Libyan women sojourners have overcome many challenges with the presence of the Islamic and Arab community. Overall, despite the severe challenges the women went through, this study indicated that Libyan women in the U.S. are highly educated, including homemakers, and are very powerful when coping with new settings and environments. Their voice that is almost absent from academic research tends to be wise, strong, and worth researching. The women in the study were not only mothers, students or workers, but also translinguistic dispatchers without whom the communication between family members and other agencies would be impossible. The women, while living under Trumphobia and trauma, were still able to fight and strive for their standings and their family support.

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Department
Bicultural-Bilingual Studies