Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science



First Advisor

Tressie McMillan Cottom

Second Advisor

Victor Chen

Third Advisor

Ravi K Perry


This research explores the lived experiences of South Asians college students. This research, through a qualitative study that is rooted in the philosophy of phenomenology, explores the essence South Asians’ identity formation. Qualitative data was collected through semi-structured interviews with South Asian college students. The data analysis was under a phenomenological lens that centered the lived experiences and the essence of these experiences in the results. Seven themes emerged from this phenomenological study: negotiating bicultural identity, model minority expectations, meaningful impact of religious spaces, understandings of intra-community tensions, racialization of Islamophobia, understandings of South Asian identity and efficacy of Asian American identity. This study’s findings provide a foundation to build a more expansive framework for understanding the identity formation of South Asians.


© Shabana K Shaheen

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission


Available for download on Wednesday, August 10, 2022