Miss America and Construction of the Other in American Culture

Miss America and Construction of the Other in American Culture

So, when an Indian-American with Hindu parents wins Miss America, it reveals two things. On the one hand it reveals how far America has come from the nineteenth century: from “Hindoo heathens” to Miss America. But, on the other hand, the Twitter response shows that the us and them narrative of American identity is still very much alive. The characters have changed slightly, now the them is more Muslim—so Muslim in fact that it makes an Indian-American into an Arab Muslim. But the general structure is the same.

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About Michael J. Altman

Michael J. Altman received his Ph.D. in American Religious Cultures from Emory University and is an Instructor in the Department of Religious Studies. Dr. Altman's areas of interest are American religious history, theory and method in the study of religion, the history of comparative religion, and Asian religions in American culture. Overall, Dr. Altman's research sits at the crossroads of American religious history and religious studies, using the theoretical insights of religious studies to dig deeper into what we mean by "religion" in religious history.

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