Identity Essay

Rough Draft due Thursday, September 22nd

Final Draft due Thursday, October 6th (via email)

Worth 30% of your grade

When we are asked about our identity, often we describe it in terms of the groups that we belong to, such as a sports team, club, family, or other kinds of social groups. We may also mention our school, occupation, or a specific workplace. We may think of our identity in terms of our gender, ethnicity, or nationality, or more specific classifications based on residence and affiliations.

The objective of this assignment is to describe the values, codes, qualifications, or conditions of an identity that you assume and then critically reflect on how identity is shaped, negotiated, or represented.

To prepare for this assignment, you should think about the different ways you identify and orient yourself (school, work, family, hobbies/interests, values, faith, class, ethnicity, etc.) and choose whichever grouping you feel most comfortable parsing out. This is not an assignment that relies on secondary research—you will use your first-hand experience and powers of observation in order to explain the bedrock of your identity. Imagine an audience who is generally knowledgeable, but would need detailed information about the smaller nuances of your community.

Possible identities you might focus on:

  • Your status as an international student
  • Your major or anticipated career( my major is mechanical engineering)
  • Your familial identity ( 3 brothers , and 1 sister)
  • A community you belong to because of a special interest (a hobby, a club, etc.)( soccer, swimming)
  • A characteristic that you see as definitive to your personality (e.g., honesty, friendliness, ambition, etc.)

For the critical reflection part of the assignment, you might consider one or more of the following questions:

  • How did you arrive at this identity? Did you consciously cultivate it, or was it assigned to you?
  • Does this facet of your identity ever compete with other aspects of your personality or social/familial pressures?
  • How do your memberships influence how you relate to others or how others relate to you?
  • Can you challenge stereotypes about this identity—are there certain assumptions about your group that have no basis in reality? Why do these exist, or what can you infer from their existence?
  • What has this exercise prompted you to consider about identity, evolution, representation, or some related idea?

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