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Writing Identity

Brown, Bassett, and Benjamin

Initial Class Questions

  • --Is Identity formed by how individuals try to identify themselves, or based on the societies attempts to define individuals under different characteristics (appearance, sexuality, culture)?
  • --Is identity nature or nurture? 
  • --How has the conversation around identity changed historically, and what aspects have been elaborated upon/ignored?
  • --To what extent is identity how you view yourself versus how others view you?
  • --Is identity determined by internal factors? How much of identity is comprised of other’s views and external experiences and how much is comprised of individual thoughts?
  • --Is there one specific quality that is vital to fully understanding one’s identity?
  • --How much of identity is tied to our names? How much does this tendency to categorize and define objects relate to identity?
  • --What is the biggest factor in forming identity - experience?
  • --Is it worth clinging onto identity for stability even if identity is a made up concept?
  • --What part of identity is based on preconceived notions?
  • --Stuart Hall discusses the duality of identity through the demand for both historical context and the ability for future construction of identity. What happens when an individual is missing either one of these pieces?
  • --How does language influence identity? Can one anchor one's identity within a language? How does the language of one's memories affect the identity those memories create?
  • --What is ethnic identity? What factors influence its formation? In what period of life is it formed?
  • --How does Orlando show the perception of queer culture in the early 20th century? Does it reflect any change in attitudes? To what degree does societal perception influence sexual identity?
  • --Where does one's gender identity stem from? 
  • --Is gender identity fluid, as Orlando seems to imply?
  • --If so, is its fluidity something an individual can govern?
  • --How big of a role do external factors play in the formation of one’s identity? (Example from Lonely Londoners and how the city itself plays a part in each character’s identity.)
  • --How does identity differ among collectivistic/individualistic cultures and what impact does this have on a person? Why is having a stable identity so important to us?
  • --How much of an impact does family, friends, other people around an individual affect that individual’s identity? Would the change in identity be real or simply a performance for the new audience?
  • --How much do someone’s politics and political affiliation impact their personal identity in other aspects of their life?
  • --How does a physical and geographic change a person's identity, even if they are moving within a country?
  • --What are the different artistic ways in which identity can best be reflected and understood?
  • --Is there a certain stage of life in which one’s identity is most significantly impacted?