Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

John Napora, Ph.D.

Co-Major Professor

Kevin Yelvington, Ph.D.


Discourse, Preservation, Ethnoreligious, Dissimulation, Diaspora, Assimilation


This research study focuses on promoting historical, religious, and cultural knowledge among transnational Druze. The Druze are a relatively small, tightly knit religious community from the Middle East who practice endogamy and accept no converts. In the diaspora, Druze have often established their own communities based on their collective ancestral and familial ties and through the establishment of groups such as the American Druze Society. This study works to allow individuals to discuss their Druze identity, identify the community's social problems, and recommend possible approaches or solutions. My research experience as an insider doing ethnography among fellow Druze has in many cases worked to my favor while studying a group whose religious tenets have been considered secret since their inception a thousand years ago. The extensive participant observation, combined with a thorough review of Druze history and literature, works to illustrate the unique position of North American Druze and how they have evolved from a small fraternity of immigrants into a growing and close-knit and well organized community. As well, survey responses and semi-structured interviews have given voice to individuals allowing them to explain how they perceive the community and its circumstances. Triangulating these methods I have found that many Druze identify a number of problems that include concerns about the community's future as well as a general dissatisfaction with their own lack of religious knowledge.