These are just a few of the categories that are used to define identity. Arguably, such labels provide quick and easy information, enabling us to know and identify ourselves and others. However these classifications are not neutral. They reflect the values of a society and are created through a historical process of power negotiation between people.
We are defined by our histories, our bodies, who and how we love, where we work, what we write, and what we believe. Today, through increasingly centralized information systems, these definitions are not only known, but also shaped, by the corporations that track consumer patterns and the government agencies that issue identification cards. Many scientists are interested in locating biological correlates of human behavior, complicating socially-oriented understandings of identity. Artists in a wide range of media bring to public attention aspects of identity that generate controversy, often leading to scrutiny or censure by governmental, social, and religious institutions.
The ways in which we identify ourselves and distinguish ourselves from others have consequences and raise deep ethical questions, for they simultaneously mobilize and fracture social groups, communities, and nations. Through lectures, workshops, classes, and performances, this program offers opportunities to approach identity not as fixed, but as a fluid process of continual redefinition and conflict.
Many events in the Center for Ethics series have been co-sponsored by the Faculty Humanities Seminar
This series continues into the Spring semester. Check this site for updates.
Please contact Dr. Beth Schachter (email@example.com) for more information.