Year of Graduation


Level of Access

Open Access Thesis

Embargo Period


Department or Program


First Advisor

Krista Van Vleet


Since the late 1800s, people have immigrated to the United states from Lebanon and Syria, and the community’s racial and ethnic position within the United States has been contested ever since. Previous research emphasizes that while people from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) are legally classified as “white” on the U.S. Census. However, many people from the region do not identify as white, and they often face discrimination or threats of violence. For people of Arab and Christian backgrounds this is further complicated because they are a part of the majority through their religion, but part of a minority through their ethnic background. In addition, media depictions of MENAs tend to be homogenizing and stereotypical. This thesis attempts to fill a gap in literature on Christian Lebanese American identities by conducting ethnographic interviews with Lebanese-Americans from a variety of generations. It pulls from theories of diaspora and race, emphasizing the importance of context and migration trajectories when understanding Lebanese American identities. My findings demonstrate wide-ranging diversity in how Christian Lebanese-Americans understand and articulate identity due to three major factors: divergent migrant pathways in multiple countries, generational difference given changing racial politics in the U.S., and generational difference given the impacts of U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East upon young Lebanese-Americans.