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Arab American Studies Research Guide: Introduction

Middle Eastern and North African Americans

The White House is putting forward a proposal to add a new racial category called  Middle Eastern and North African (MENA) .  If approved, the new designation could appear on census forms in 2020 and could have far-reaching implications for racial identity, anti-discrimination laws, and health research.   Under current law, people from the Middle East are considered white, the legacy of century-old court rulings in which Syrian Americans argued that they should not be considered Asian -- because that designation would deny them citizenship under the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act.  But scholars and community leaders say more and more people with Middle Eastern roots find themselves caught between white, black, and Asian classifications that don't fully represent their identities.  "What it does, it helps these communities feel less invisible", said Helen Samhan of the Arab American Institute, which has been advocating the change for more than 30 years.   The White House Office of Management and Budget advanced the proposal with a notice in the Federal Register on September 30, 2016, asking for comments and which groups would be included.  Under the proposal, the new Middle East and North African designation -- or MENA as it's called by population scholars -- is broader in concept that Arab (an ethnicity) or Muslim (a religion).  It would include anyone from a region of the world stretching from Morocco to Iran, and including Syrian and Coptic Christians, Israeli Jews, and other religious minorities.  Time will tell whether the new category will include Turkish, Sudanese, and Somali-Americans.

As a result, this guide will slowly expand its coverage to include both Arab American and Muslima American as well as many of the other population groups from this part of the world.

Dept. of Justice Affirms in 1909 Whether Syrians, Turks, and Arabs are of White or Yellow Race. Courtesy of the Arab American Historical Foundation.

Library Basics

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Research Basic Modules.  (Note: Requires Adobe Flash Player.)  A series of Camtasia tutorials by Sara Miller to help undergraduates understand the basics of library research, including:

More Guides and Tutorials

Citation Guides and Generators.

How to choose the best indexes/databases

The Information Cycle : How Today's Events Are Tomorrow's Information.  Based on Columbine School Shooting Incident, April 20, 2001.  Rebecca Bichel and Debra Cheney, Penn State University.

MARS : the MSU Article Retrieval Service.  This new service provides copies of non-electronic journal articles and individual book chapters that the MSU Libraries own to MSU faculty, staff, and graduate students for personal research.  If the article cannot be scanned, a photocopy will be sent.  Allow two to three days for delivery.

Writing in Anthropology : Practical advice from the University of North Carolina Writing Center.  Don't forget that MSU also has a writing center that can provide assistance.  Or talk to your teacher.

Writing in History : Practical advice from the University of North Carolina Writing Center.  Don't forget that MSU also has a writing center that can provide assistance.  Or talk to your teacher.

Writing in Literature : Practical advice from the University of North Carolina Writing Center.  Don't forget that MSU also has a writing center that can provide assistance.  Or talk to your teacher.

Writing in Political Science : Practical advice from the University of North Carolina Writing Center.  Don't forget that MSU also has a writing center that can provide assistance.  Or talk to your teacher.

Writing in Religious Studies : Practical advice from the University of North Carolina Writing Center.  Don't forget that MSU also has a writing center that can provide assistance.  Or talk to your teacher.

Writing in Sociology : Practical advice from the University of North Carolina Writing Center.  Don't forget that MSU also has a writing center that can provide assistance.  Or talk to your teacher.


 

Subject Guide

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