Identity

Issue 49 April 2019

On ‘Identity’

Florian Coulmas is Professor of Japanese Society and Sociolinguistics at the IN-EAST Institute of East Asian Studies at Duisburg-Essen University. He has published numerous books, including ‘An Introduction to Multilingualism’ (OUP, 2017) and ‘Writing and Society: A Introduction’ (Cambridge University Press, 2013). In 2016, he was awarded the Meyer-Struckmann-Prize for Research in Arts and Social Sciences. For the past three decades he has served as Associate Editor of the ‘International Journal of the Sociology of Languages’, during which time he has observed the steadily increasing use of the concept of identity in both general and scholarly publications. His latest publication, ‘Identity: A Very Short Introduction’, was published in February 2019.

Contained

Inspired by an aesthetic in which art, science, medicine and ecology intersect, Elaine Whittaker’s art practice considers biology as contemporary art practice. Based principally in installation, sculpture, painting, drawing and digital imagery, her artworks incorporate a range of materials: from the traditional, such as paint, pigment and wax, to the unconventional, such as mosquitoes, salt crystals, cells and live microorganisms. They have been exhibited nationally and internationally, in art and science galleries, and featured in literary, medical and art magazines, including William Myers’ book, Bio Art: Altered Realities (2015). In this article she reflects on Contained, her 2018 exhibition, and the effects of illness on identity as experienced by her mother when she contracted Tuberculosis at an early age.

A house built on sand? A critical examination of the concept of ‘identity’ within contemporary ‘identity politics’, from a sociological perspective.

Adrian Holme is a teacher, writer and artist. He is an Associate Lecturer on the MA Art and Science, Central Saint Martins, and his cross-disciplinary background encompasses biology, fine art and information science. He is also a Lecturer on the BA Hons. Illustration course at Camberwell College of Arts, UAL, where he coordinates and delivers a humanities / critical theory element. His art practice extends across drawing, installation and performance, and he also works as a commercial copy writer and editor. In ‘A house built on sand?’ he draws upon sociological theory to critically examine the concept of identity represented in contemporary ‘identity politics’.

Breaking new ground in African philosophy

Jonathan O. Chimakonam Ph.D, is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Calabar, Nigeria. He is also a Research Associate at the University of Johannesburg, South Africa. His teaching and research interests cover the areas of African Philosophy, Logic, Philosophy of Mind, Environmental Ethics and Postmodern/Postcolonial Thought. In this exclusive interview he discusses his aim to break new grounds in African philosophy by formulating a system that unveils new concepts and opens new vistas for thought (Conversational philosophy); a method that represents a new approach to philosophising in African and intercultural philosophies (Conversational thinking); and a system of logic that grounds them both (Ezumezu).

The ‘real you’ is a myth – we constantly create false memories to achieve the identity we want

Giuliana Mazzoni is Professor of Psychology, University of Hull. Human memory represents her main research interest, and more specifically the study on how personal memories are remembered in normal people and in those whose ability to remember is exceptional. Her work on memory has been featured in newspapers and magazines in the UK (among many, The Sunday Times) and around the world (among many,The Washington Post).