Adam Mohsen-Breen

Adam Mohsen-Breen

2018 Undergraduate Fellow
Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations

Thesis title and description:

“The Impacts of US Foreign Policy on Arab-American Public Opinion and Political Participation”

In the post-9/11 United States, the 2003 US invasion of Iraq and subsequent “War on Terror” has largely defined the contours of US security objectives and international conflict to the present. In conjunction with these international events, the Arab diaspora in the United States has become increasingly prominent as a marginalized and demonized ethnic minority, with an uptick in anti-Arab sentiment manifesting itself in mainstream media as well as in American public life. However, despite the Arab-American community’s looming presence on the American psyche, little work has been done examining the impacts of US military interventions in the Middle East on Arab-American public opinion and political behavior post-9/11, or the unique theoretical dynamics underlying this behavior. 

My work will build upon existing research analyzing the links between foreign policy and public opinion, as well as research examining the unique dynamics of political participation among ethnic minorities in the United States, to address this gap in the literature. I intend to examine the impacts of US foreign policy in the Middle East on Arab-American public opinion and political participation, and examine how these patterns have changed over time in response to changing international and domestic contexts. 

Through the CAPS summer research fellowship, I will be investigating my topic through survey research and interviews conducted in conjunction with local community centers and nonprofit organizations in the Philadelphia and New York City metropolitan areas. Through my multimethod research design, I hope to shed light on the causal processes underlying how US foreign policy affects diasporic communities of war, as well as broadening existing research on the political participation of ethnic minorities to a significant, yet poorly-understood, population.