Identity Mapping

Our first short assignment (700-1000 words) will help establish a foundation for future assignments. Our main papers will ask you to take up some aspect of your identity and analyze it in greater detail. This short assignment asks us to think about our identities more broadly as a starting point. You should submit your paper as an attachment via email before class the day it is due.

In the paper, your identity mapping work should address at least two of the following categories (you are welcome to address more than two):

  • Race
  • Class
  • Gender
  • Sexuality
  • Religion
  • Ability (athletics, body size, mental health, learning disabilities, etc. – anything related to how your body and mind contribute to your identity)
  • Culture (related to things you share with a cultural group or a personal interest in some aspect of culture: books, music, sports, fashion, etc.)

Note that some of these categories intersect (see here for the origin of “intersectionality”) and shape one another, so you might find yourself looking at multiple aspects of your identity simultaneously. You are also welcome to consider some aspect of your identity not addressed in these categories.

For each aspect of identity you discuss, your thinking should address the following prompts. Consider as many different aspects of your thinking and experience as you can, and be specific in your answers.

  • Describe how this aspect of your identity shapes your experience. Are there any privileges or disadvantages that come with this identity?
  • Describe how this aspect of your identity shapes your orientation in terms of your attitudes, values, beliefs, assumptions, investments, and expectations. Also, how does it function as a trained incapacity, limiting your thinking or experience in some way?
  • Are there any tensions or conflicts between this aspect of your identity and other aspects?
  • Describe how others (either people you know or society more generally) tend to view this aspect of your identity.
  • What do you like most about this aspect of your identity? Least?