April 17th - May 18th
Sundays and Wednesdays
Session One: 4:30pm - 6:30pm
Session Two: 7pm - 9pm
Course convener: A. M. Awad
The rise of identity politics in Western liberal democracy has transformed how individuals relate to themselves and to their communities. Increasingly, such politics is affecting a variety of institutions, social movements, and individual mindsets in the Arab world. As the content and form of religious, ethnic, and gender identities are reconfigured, new ways of life are created and others are erased. The resultant tumult has led to profound identity crises in cities like Amman.
In this seminar, we will engage the history of identity politics - from its foundation in liberal democracy to its cultivation as a trope of liberation in the United Sates - before assessing its currency in the Arab world. From neoliberal development and the creation of neocolonial institutions to the strengthening of bourgeois individualism, what kind of world is identity politics enforcing, and what does it leave behind?
Theoretically, we will challenge the concept of identity itself, addressing the philosophical issues of essentialism, ontology, and community. In turn, we will grapple with the possibility of alternative frameworks for liberation. Reading material includes theoretical texts (Foucault, Fanon, Spivak, Butler, Said, and Massad); recent anthropological and political studies from the United States and Jordan; and media from everyday life.
Tuition: 240 JDs. Scholarships available