The Lies That Bind Rethinking Identity
Read: Extracts from “The lies that bind: rethinking identity” by Kwame Anthony Appiah (located under files/week 6, see instructions for which chapters to read below).
Deliver: A written piece (ca 600-700 words) and a brief slide presentation (see instructions below).
Start by reading “1_Introduction.pdf” and “8_endnotes.pdf”. Then select ONE of the chapters addressing a specific collective identity, so read either “2_gender.pdf”, “3_creed.pdf” (creed is another word for religion/faith), “4_country.pdf”, “5_color.pdf”, “6_class.pdf” or “7_culture.pdf”.
Why I chose this reading is to introduce one perspective on how ideas around and expressions of our collective identities are constructed and change over time (feel free to skim through some of the specific examples in each chapter). This to get us in the mindset of the upcoming design challenge, which will be about exploring how to creatively transform collective identities or open up new identity categories or forms of belonging altogether.
After finishing the reading of your choice, write a short story about your own relationship to the collective identity described in the chapter, and how your sense of belonging or connectedness has changed over time. The specifics of your relationship to this identity does not have to match up with the examples in the reading, rather feel free to draw from your own experiences, choosing whatever sub identity*, intersectional identity*, or identity binary* of your choice.
Make sure to include at least one crucial moment or experience in your story that has changed your relationship to the collective identity. This could include a specific person’s or community’s influence on you, a move, a dramatic life event, an experience of alienation etc.
Second, describe a cultural phenomenon of some sort that you have witnessed cause a shift to the collective identity you just discussed on a larger scale during your lifetime, and that can be seen as intentional. (Just as in the above example, the shift can be in relation to a specific sub category, intersectional collective identity or identity binary).
Examples of cultural phenomena: a product, an organization, a network, a role model, a social or cultural movement or artifact, a ritual, a book, a space etc. Write a brief summary of this phenomenon and what shift it caused from your viewpoint.
Finally, include a brief note on how the reading influenced your own thoughts around the topics you just discussed.
Be prepared to share both your personal story and the cultural phenomenon of your choice with the class. Use whatever images you think would support your sharing, and upload this as a pdf to Canvas as well. Make sure the sharing will not go over 4 min.
* sub identity = if you picked for example “country”, a sub identity to this could be for example “American” or “Korean”.
*intersectional = if you picked for example “country” and you’re from China, an intersectional identity in relation to this would be for instance “Chinese” plus “woman” or “Chinese” plus “woman” plus “city person”.
*identity binary = if you picked for example “color” you could choose to write about your relationship to the identity binary of “white” and “black”, rather than focusing on one of the two.