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Michigan State University

Arab American Studies Research Guide: Background

Arab Americans by Kasey Kaseem

There are about 3 million Arab Americans, and as a community, we’ve been demonstrating loyalty, inventiveness, and courage on behalf of the United States for over 100 years. Here are just a few of the famous and accomplished ones – people you may know!  Source : Arab Americans : Making a Difference.  By Casey Kaseem.  Also available courtesy of the Arab American Institute.

Arab American Literature and Culture, American Studies Journal, No. 52, (2008)


Arab Americans : 100 Questions and Answers

Arab Americans : 100 Questions and Answers About Arab Americans courtesy of Joe Grimm and the MSU School of Journalism.  2000 edition available in print.    Note : new edition coming out soon.

Muslim Americans : 100 Question and Answers

100 Questions and Answers About Muslim Americans courtesy of Joe Grimm and the MSU School of Journalism students.

Programs Offered at MSU

Arabic Language

Arabic is a language of rich heritage culture, history and an old civilization. It contributed widely to knowledge and advancement of science in the world. It is currently spoken by over 200 millions people, 500,000 of whom are around here in Michigan. It is also sacred to 1.5 billion Muslims worldwide. It is sometime presumed difficult to learn, but it is very rewarding in many aspects. It is part of the Semitic group. Please follow the links on the left for more information.

Arabic Language Instruction at Michigan State University

A Is for Arab

A is for Arab: A Century of Stereotypes. NYU Abu Dhabi Institute presentation, September 9, 2015.

Dome, Arab American National Museum


Arab Americans

"Arab Americans trace their roots to 22 countries in Africa and Asia that share a common language and heritage. There are of many religions. The majority of Arab Americans are Christian -- Eastern Orthodox (e.g., Greek Catholic, Maronite, Coptic, Assyrian, and Chaldean), Roman Catholic and Protestant, but Muslims are the fastest growing segment of the community. The majority of Arab Americans are native-born Americans, and 82 percent are U.S. citizens" (Allied Media Corp., 2009).

Middle Eastern Americans

The term Middle Eastern Americans refers to immigrants and their native-born descendants who trace their ancestry to the Middle East and North Africa. In other words, they come from the 22 countries that form the Arab League, and the non-Arab countries: Iran, Israel, and Turkey. Additionally, there are minority populations (both ethnic and religious) from these nation states who are also Middle Eastern Americans. These include Armenians, Assyrians, Baha’is, Chaldeans, Copts, Druze and Kurds. Middle Eastern Americans, overall, share visible physical characteristics, history in the region as well as in the U.S., religious traditions, including Mizrahi and Sephardic Judaism, Eastern Christianity,  and Islam, along with a rich cultural heritage of common values, sensibilities in art, food, music, epic stories, etc. While the U.S. government does not recognize Middle Eastern Americans as an official minority group, we still need to acknowledge their presence because of their contributions to American society and economy – and, ironically, the relatively high level of discrimination they have endured in this country.  For more information visit:



Subject Guide

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Erik Ponder
African Studies Librarian
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