WGS413 Identity and Difference (Spring)

The notions of “identity” and “difference” have emerged as key concepts in contemporary debate, where their importance has gone well beyond the limits of academic speculation. New challenges face the notions of subjectivity, nation and gender. Using an interdisciplinary approach, this course begins with a consideration of the philosophical dimension of the problem. Both the idea of indetity as constructed in confrontation with others, and the notion of multiple identities, including gender identity, will be explored. The second part of the course concentrates on the political dimnsion of ‘identity’ and ‘difference’, The challenges of multi-cultural society, of a gendered model of citizenship, of globalization and of super-national integration have placed the issue of identity at the forefront of political debate. In Europe, the re-emergence of nationalistic and ethnocentric currents has made the definition of a truly shared European identity more urgent. The third part of this course focuses on the gender dimension and on the contribution by feminist philosphers to the debate on identity. Gender differences have emerged as an essential element in the construction of personal and social identity, where the body is perceived as the foundation of identity. Recent theories, however, have pointed out the importance of technology and science in defining the body, and have proposed the notion of a ‘nomadic’ identity. Cross-listed with PHI/PSC 413.

Counts as a Critical Reflections course in the Liberal Arts Core for Syracuse Arts & Sciences students, dually enrolled A&S/Newhouse students, and dually enrolled A&S/Education students.

Department: Women and Gender Studies

Location: Florence

Semester: Spring

Credits: 3