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Alia Reza – 2017 Recipient

Major: Anthropology
Degree: B.A.
School: University of Denver
Sponsor:
Amana Mutual Funds

 

 

Message to Supporters: Thank you for sponsoring my ISF 2017 scholarship. I am grateful to have this opportunity to continue my education and research.

My name is Alia Reza, and I am a fourth-year student of anthropology at the University of Denver. I realized early in my studies that the skills I learned as an anthropologist helped me stand up to prejudice and racism in the world around me. As a Muslim, I want to better combat the fear and hatred of Islam that exists today. I am currently working with professors in DU’s anthropology department to develop a documentary tentatively titled Trump and the Making of Hysteria. The film discusses the uncanny parallels between the anti-Muslim rhetoric that has grown in the wake of Trump’s rise to power and the rhetoric that was the precursor to Japanese internment during WWII, and encourages viewers to stand up for the rights of American Muslims in order to prevent an outcome reflective of the 1940s. Our goal is to increase public awareness surrounding the biased and prejudiced rhetoric attached to the Trump administration and the negative impacts of many of Trump’s policies — notably his immigration bans — in order to motivate communities across Colorado to take a stand against such policies. The documentary is scheduled for completion at the end of April 2017.

Additionally, every anthropology student at DU must complete an undergraduate capstone project in which we use our anthropological knowledge to address significant topics in today’s world. In my research, I have created an anonymous “group auto-ethnography” — in the form of an online journal — of the DU Muslim community. When I have collected enough entries, I will develop an ethnographic analysis of the students’ writings, focusing on how their experiences as American Muslims in today’s world contribute to shaping their identity as university students and members of the Denver community.

This scholarship will allow me to complete my degree and my capstone research. Without having to worry about paying my full tuition, I can focus more of my time on my projects and classes in order to better the Denver area for members of the Muslim community. Thank you again for your support in my education.

Bio: Alia Reza is a fourth-year student at the University of Denver in Denver, Colorado. She studies anthropology, art history, and english. As an anthropology major she critically analyzes relationships between cultures of the past and present. She has also been privileged be able to work closely with the anthropology department in researching, interviewing and writing for projects, one of which is a film about the uncanny parallels between the anti-Muslim rhetoric that has grown in the wake of Trump’s rise to power and the rhetoric that was the precursor to Japanese internment during WWII, and encourages viewers to stand up for the rights of American Muslims in order to prevent an outcome reflective of the 1940s. The film explores the stories and experiences of American Muslims, and how the political and social climate affects how they view the world and interact with their surroundings.

Areas of Interest:
Museum Anthropology focused on American Muslims

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