FORUM Postgraduate Journal of Culture and the Arts - Issue 11: Identity

full name / name of organization: 
University of Edinburgh


'Who are you?' said the Caterpillar.
This was not an encouraging opening for a conversation. Alice replied, rather shyly, 'I—I hardly know, sir, just at present—at least I know who I was when I got up this morning, but I think I must have been changed several times since then.'
       — from Alice in Wonderland

How do we go about answering the question 'Who am I'? Identity provides an important means of understanding the world, from the individual to the collective. Globalisation and modern technologies gather and separate individuals and communities, creating and redefining both singular and shared identities. Historical concepts and personas are re-imagined through contemporary lenses, modifying past identities while affecting modern views of the self. Much has been made of the freedom and power of fluid, shifting, and multiple identities, yet the notion of an authentic and essential identity remains. Such contestations are part of the language used to discuss identity, as the phrase 'identity crisis' indicates. Identity can be 'found' and 'lost', disputed, negotiated, and subverted.

How is identity formed, maintained, and defined? How far does identity rely on differentiation, and how much on identification? Is identity constructed, or intrinsic? Does it change, and if so, how? How can identity be approached, (re)presented, and analysed in art, film, literature, media, music, and theatre? With increasing globalisation and rapidly changing technology, we are challenged to both redefine and protect identity on multiple levels. How has this affected views, portrayals, and performance of identities? Conversely, how has identity been portrayed and constructed in the past?

In order to answer some of these questions, we are seeking submissions that consider the concept of Identity. Topics might include, but are not limited to:

  • Identity authenticity, representation, construction, and performativity
  • Identity permanence, plurality, multiplicity, fluidity, and fragmentation
  • Private versus public identity
  • Globalisation, popular culture, consumerism, and identity
  • Identity and the Other
  • Dissidence and Identity
  • Aspects of/informing Identity, such as age, class, culture, gender, politics, race, religion, sexuality, etc.
  • Theoretically inflected discussions of Identity (e.g. Psychoanalytic, Feminist, Queer, Postcolonial, etc).
  • Narratives/genres of Selfhood and† Identity
  • Visual, Aural, Oral, and Dialectic Identities
  • Identity Now and Then
  • Identity and border crossings
  • Contesting/Subverting prescribed identity constructions
  • Identity and identification
  • Impact of cyber-space and digital media on constructions of Identity

Papers must be of between 3,000 and 5,000 words in length, formatted according to MLA guidelines. Please email your paper, along with a short abstract and your CV to: by 1st September 2010.