A few weeks ago I finished teaching my regular course at Seattle University, on the “Modern Self”. Quoth the syllabus intro:
Who are you? In this course we focus on sociological approaches to the question of how we know and make sense of ourselves. Self and society are intertwined - mutually co-created - which means that our self-making processes both reflect and reinforce social patterns, especially patterns of difference and discrimination. The interplay of self and society turn on several paradoxes: that we come to understand ourselves as unique through shared labels, and that such labels and social forms – by demarcating who we are – identify who we are not, and who is not us, setting up not only community but exclusion. Our stories of who we are both give our lives meaning and isolate those cut from the script.
In this course we will explore both the long history of theories about selfhood, identity and meaning, and how experiences of identity (and theories around it) have shifted from modernity to postmodernity. Doing this allows us to examine ways out of, or through, these paradoxes – forms of resistance, ethics of uncertainty, and a politics of ambiguous hope through which we might build better, more wondrous, and more plural futures.
It was super fun as always! People were shockingly with-it, particularly given the transition back to in-person teaching, and wrote some delightful essays and absolutely lovely course evaluations. This quarter’s syllabus:
Introduction to Social Selves
- Chapter 1, “Identity as a Question” from Lawler, Steph. Identity: sociological perspectives. John Wiley & Sons, 2015.
Identity in Interaction
- Chapter 1 of Scott, Suzie. Negotiating Identity: Symbolic Interactionist Approaches to Social identity.
The methods of Interaction
- Garfinkel, Harold. “Passing and the managed achievement of sex status in an “intersexed” person.” In The transgender studies reader (2006): 58-93.
- Andrew Main’s “Allism” piece
- West, Candace, and Don H. Zimmerman. “Doing gender.” Gender & Society (1987): 125-151.
Interaction and Multiplicity
- Stewart, Dafina Lazarus. “Being all of me: Black students negotiating multiple identities.” The Journal of Higher Education 79.2 (2008): 183-207.
- Pyke, Karen D., and Denise L. Johnson. “Asian American Women And Racialized Femininities: “Doing” Gender across Cultural Worlds.” Gender & Society (2003): 33-53.
Interaction and Classification
- Srivastava, Sarita. ““You’re calling me a racist?” The Moral and Emotional Regulation of Antiracism and Feminism.” Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society 31.1 (2005): 29-62.
- Pages 1-16 and 33-50, Geoffrey Bowker and Susan Leigh Star, Sorting Things Out: Classification and its Consequences
Interaction and Classification, Part 2
- Chapters 6 and 9 of Geoffrey Bowker and Susan Leigh Star, Sorting Things Out: Classification and its Consequences
Identity, Narrative and Knowledge, Part 1
- Chapters 2-3 of Plummer, Ken. Narrative power: The struggle for human value. John Wiley & Sons, 2019.
Identity, Narrative and Knowledge, Part 2
- Jobe, Alison. “Telling the right story at the right time: Women seeking asylum with stories of trafficking into the sex industry.” Sociology 54.5 (2020): 936-952.
- McKinnon, Rachel. “Epistemic injustice.” Philosophy Compass 11.8 (2016): 437-446.
The Interactive and the Critical
- Atkins, Ashley. “Black lives matter or all lives matter? Color-blindness and epistemic injustice.” Social Epistemology 33.1 (2019): 1-22.
- Spade, Dean. “Resisting Medicine/Remodeling Gender” Berkeley Women’s Law Journal.
- Parts 1-2, History of Sexuality, Vol 1.
Foucault again (sorry again)
- Parts 3-4 (not 5) of History of Sexuality, Vol. 1
Identity and Neoliberalism
- Rottenberg, Catherine. “The rise of neoliberal feminism.” Cultural studies (2014): 418-437.
- David, Emmanuel. “Capital T: Trans visibility, corporate capitalism, and commodity culture.” Transgender Studies Quarterly 1 (2017): 28-44.
Identity and Technoscience (I swear these are fun reads I’m not just a narcissist)
- Keyes, Os. “The Body Instrumental” Logic Magazine - https://logicmag.io/nature/the-body-instrumental/
- Keyes, Os. “Automating autism: Disability, discourse, and Artificial Intelligence.” The Journal of Sociotechnical Critique 1.1 (2020): 8.
Identity and Colonialism
- Roen, Katrina. “Transgender theory and embodiment: The risk of racial marginalisation.” Journal of Gender Studies (2001): 253-263.
Identity and Academia
- Yergeau, M. Remi. “Clinically significant disturbance: On theorists who theorize theory of mind.” Disability Studies Quarterly 4 (2013).
Problematising the normal
- McNeill, Tanya. “Sex education and the promotion of heteronormativity.” Sexualities 16.7 (2013): 826-846.
- Alarie, Milaine, and Stéphanie Gaudet. ““I don’t know if she is bisexual or if she just wants to get attention”: Analyzing the various mechanisms through which emerging adults invisibilize bisexuality.” Journal of Bisexuality 13.2 (2013): 191-214.
Rage and hope
- Queer Nation. “Queers, Read This!” (1990).