Date of Award
Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Arts and Letters and University Honors
Arts & Letters
Syrian culture, double consciousness, Arab American, cultural experiences, childhood memories, personal memoir
This creative thesis is an exploration of and reflection on my childhood experiences as a Syrian American growing up in the United States. I explore themes of cultural connection, double consciousness, ethnicity in America, and the preservation and loss of Syrian cultural practices including language, family relationships, and social norms.
Growing up in a predominantly white community, as the daughter of a Syrian immigrant raised in a Syrian community, I was acutely aware that I didn’t fit in with the larger culture around me. I engaged in code switching, absorbed micro-aggressions, and experienced othering without any real understanding of what was happening. Studying race and social justice concepts at Portland State University helped me clarify and contextualize my childhood experiences.
I wrote this collection of stories to amuse, educate, and enlighten people about Syrian culture and to highlight the inner life of our immigrant community. In doing so, I learned about myself and how I have processed my place within my Syrian community and within my country of birth, the United States.
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Piazza, Leila Yacoub, "My Syrian American Life" (2022). University Honors Theses. Paper 1221.
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