Full course description
Identity is about one’s sense of self, it is about personhood, and it is about what kind of person one is. Identities always involve both sameness and difference. Thus, if you are Dutch, you are like other Dutch people and different from the non-Dutch. There is a tendency to see identities as being fixed or given. Sociologists, however, argue that identities are fluid and changeable and that we can acquire new ones. In this course we will explore theoretical texts on the historical, cultural and political construction of social identities. We will focus on class, gender, race, ethnicity and nation as historically specific, structured relations of oppression and exploitation examining their existence and interaction. Discussions and analyses will be based on how social identities work as overlapping categories of both inclusion and exclusion and how they are used to divide, rank, and discriminate. Some of the questions to be addressed are: What are the main levels of analysis within which we can explore the interplay between these exploitative and oppressive relations? What are their theoretical, cultural, ideological and political implications? The course is designed for students who have a serious interest in the topic and who are open to critically evaluate and understand their own participation within structures of domination and oppression. We will examine and interrogate how heterosexuality, whiteness and class privilege, for instance, function in such a way as to keep systems of oppression intact and discuss how to participate in the struggles against identity-based forms of domination.
- To learn how different categories of social identities operate as categories of socio-structural inequality.
- To discuss perspectives on race, ethnicity, class, gender and national identities in order to get a better understanding of what they are and how they are conceptualized theoretically.
- To learn about and reflect on how you yourself, your thinking and your way of being is affected by these relations of oppression and domination in everyday life.
At least two of the following courses: SSC1029 Sociological Perspectives, SSC2028 Classical Sociology, HUM1003 Cultural Studies I, SSC2059 Social Movements, HUM2031 Cultural Studies II, HUM2018 Cultural Diversity in a Globalizing World, HUM2003 The Making of Crucial Differences, HUM2014 Philosophers of the 20th Century, HUM2056 Cultural Remembrances.
This course is not recommended for first year students
- Alcoff, L.M., & Medieta, E. (2003). Identities: Race, Class, Gender, and Nationality