Identities and Beliefs

The concept of negotiated identities refers to the way we are engaged in defining and representing who/what we are, individually and/or collectively. Through life-long exposure to political, economic and cultural dynamics, we internalize beliefs, ideologies, and assumptions that predicate how we live, think and act, but also how we relate to others. So we develop and express our sense of belonging with multiple groups in specific spatial and temporal contexts, in many different ways. The way we relate to social constructs as they pertain to gender, sexuality, race, ethnicity, class, religion, citizenship, origin, language, or other “categories” of differentiation (physical ability, age, occupation, etc.) changes over time, and negotiations may entail acceptance, contestation, or rejection of dominant scripts. Though we also, often engage in practices of boundary maintenance and forms of Othering that in turn, contribute to creating dynamics of inclusion and/or exclusion, while reproducing stereotypes, prejudices and other structural constraints. In this research stream faculty members are interested in the cultural politics of identity formation and transformation. We account for the fact that in this rapidly changing world, the terms of mobility and stasis, connectivity and fragmentation, membership and marginalization hold great phenomenological and ethnographic relevance, which is why our work critically examines insider-outsider dynamics, power relations and difference in various local, regional and global contexts.