Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)

Degree Granting Department

Humanities and Cultural Studies

Major Professor

Stephen Turner, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Laurel Graham, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Walter Nord, Ph.D.


Arab, Cultural Identity, Family, Muslim, Religious Identity, Sarakatsan


This study was conducted with the goal to provide an in-depth analysis of the analogous qualities of two very distinct yet similar cultures: the Arab and Sarakatsan cultures, with a particular focus on personal matters that deal with family and kinship. Despite the difference in religions, both groups demonstrate a substantive set of similar traits especially in terms of the interactions, dynamics, and functionality of family relations in addition to the highly-esteemed values that dictate everyday conduct. As a first-generation Arab Muslim who immigrated to the United States, I use the culture in which I am entrenched as a basis for providing an insightful account of the experiences that bear similarity to those accounted for of the Sarakatsans. In this way I study and compare a culture outside of mine as a means to augment perspective and analyze the ways in which this comparative culture can relate to my own. Ethnography as well as autoethnography were the instrumental and methodological approaches through which this study was conducted, drawing conclusions from the insightful accounts of the experiences within these cultures respectively. The results substantiate the hypothesis that the two cultures indeed bear strikingly analogous characteristics and functions, despite the geographical, religious, and environmental differences. These findings imply that the commonalities of these cultures stem from a foundation other than religion or ethnicity which provide incentive for further work investigating the source of similarity of these particularities of culture.