POLS 054. Identity Politics (CP)

The term "identity politics" has become a mainstay of contemporary political discourse. In both scholarly and public debates, it is used to describe and make sense of phenomena as diverse as multiculturalism, white nationalism, civil rights, the women's movement, LGBTI activism, separatist groups, and violent ethnic conflicts. Identity is central to politics, but are all identities political? Where do identities come from and why do they matter for social and political life? Do we have the freedom to choose our own identities or are they ascribed to us by others? And to what extent do our identities dictate what we can do, think, know, or feel? This class offers an introduction to the politics of identity. Over the course of the semester, we will investigate how categories like class, race, gender, ethnicity, nation, religion, and sexuality impact politics and struggles for power around the world. Our readings will explore debates around the politics of recognition and representation, authenticity and cultural appropriation, corporate diversity and neoliberal multiculturalism, positionality and situated knowledge, oppression and empowerment, and intersectionality. Students will have the opportunity to conduct independent research on identity related topics of their choice. 

Social sciences.
1 credit.
Eligible for INTP; GLBL-Core
Catalog chapter: Political Science  
Department website: http://www.swarthmore.edu/political-science


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