Zooming in . . .
as a category associated with subjectivity, individuality and
personhood, is as broad, abstract but relevant to our lives as
"time" and "space" are. The general questions we tend to ask
about it are:
am I? What am I? What defines my self and determines
who I am?
are my ¡¥selves¡¦ and my experience communicated or represented
to myself or others? How do communication and representation,
in turn, influence my sense of selves?
(or what) am I similar to and different from? How do
I relate to the Other, or others, in human society, nature
or the universe?
are the functions of collective identities (such as race,
gender, class, family)? Are they supportive or constraining?
I act as a responsible social agent, or get acted on by the
larger forces such as those of a community, a nation, capitalism
thinkers and theorists in different disciplines and cultures
look at these questions differently. In modern and contemporary
(Western) critical theories, there has been a tendency to
move away from identity based on sameness, to that of difference;
from essentialist and singular definitions of identity, to
those of plural identities in process (call it development,
construction or fragmentation), always encoded with multiple
meanings, fragmented by different discourses and negotiating
contradictory positions. In the era of late modernity
and post-industrial capitalism, moreover, while there have
been waves of assimilation and erasure of local identities
by global capitalism, theorists and activists have also been
trying to 'discern' and 'reclaim' identities, and/or to base
them on 'experience' or the so-called aesthetic reflexivity.
this general development out of the intersecting networks of
critical discourses, I choose the following fields and topics
the Theoretical Basis:
4 wks: Identity in Development ¡V Freud
and Lacan, Malanie Klein and D. W. Winnicott.
Identity, Modern Capitalism and Modernity¡V K.
Marx & G. Lukacs(fetishism), M. Foucault, A. Giddens,
P. Bordieu, W. Benjamin and M. Featherstone.
II. Issues of Identity:
Identity and Vision¡Vvoyeur & flaneur.
Identity and the Issues of Location, Translation &
Migration in Postcolonialism: Liz Bondi (locating identity
politics), Adrienne Rich (politics of location), Stuart Hall,
you are a beginner of critical theories or one well immersed
in them, I hope that this course can stimulate your interest
and thinking in the issues of identity in general, while
developing your own studies of certain aspects of identity as
they are embodied in your chosen literary/cultural texts. To
achieve this goal, the course not only chooses both primary
(or classical) and secondary (or recent) theoretical texts and
organizes them by topics, but also ask you to
participate actively in discussions in class and on the
2) do a 30-minute (or one-hour) report on a theoretical text
with an outline ready for online publication;
3) do a 30-minute report on your project on the issues of
identity in a certain text and/or in our cultures;
4) do a term paper with both theoretical discussion and
requirements are designed in such a way so that we together
can develop and improve the following skills:
identifying the problem or question the theoretical
understanding its argument and how it is developed,
explaining its concepts in our own words, and
relating them to the issues in the literary texts we
read, or our own lives;
Critique and Articulation:
Identifying and critiquing the critical text¡¦s assumptions;
Articulating (relating, negotiating and embodying) related
¡§Five Skills a Good Theorist Must Master¡¨
look at another syllabus can help you understand how broad the
field of identity can be: Politics of Identities: Theories of
Human Subjects, Selves and Identities http://hermes.hrc.ntu.edu.tw/csa/syllabi/identity_politics_wang.html