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Forms of Identity

Forms of Identity


The module examines and illuminates ‘Identity’ through a variety of approaches from different disciplines. A rich and pluralistic appreciation of ‘Identity’ will be relevant to all Warwick graduates in their personal and professional lives.

The module will:

• Help students to analyse critical ideas concerning identity from a range of disciplines (=multidisciplinary), and to synthesise these into thoughtful intellectual responses (=interdiciplinary), that lead students to insights that may lie beyond the scope of a single discipline (=transdisciplinary).

• Help students understand the limits of traditionally distinct but well-established disciplines.

• Engage students fully with ‘active’ learning. It will be faithful to the notion that participation and experiential learning foster a deeper understanding of complex material.

• Require students to take responsibility for their own academic and research activity, while also stimulating team-work and collaboration, thus creating a pool of transferable skills that students can acquire and practice.

• Make productive links between the main theoretical ideas concerning identity, and apply practical applications.

The module examines and illuminates identity through a variety of approaches from different disciplines. A rich and pluralistic appreciation of ‘Identity’ will be relevant to all Warwick graduates in their personal and professional lives.


The module aims by studying identity to encourage students to:

• Investigate in detail the main and underlying ways by which identities are formed, changed, or imposed – as seen through the lenses of different disciplines.

• Understand the limits of notions such as the nature of individual identity broadly, national identity, bodily identity, gender identity, racial identity, and spiritual identity.

• Make decisions concerning the importance of consumer, hybrid, border, and marginal identities, and the notion that identity can shift, that it can be fragmented, and that a variety of identities can exist simultaneously.

• Develop an awareness of how their subject knowledge and disciplinary approach can be made accessible to wider publics.

• Explore the relationship between the mind and body in the formation of identity.


Week 1

Introduction to ‘Forms of Identity’ – Nicholas Monk
Week 2 Philosophy and Identity – Eileen John (Philosophy, University of Warwick)
Week 3 Narrative and Personal Identity – tba
Week 4 Organisational Identity, Brand and Reputation – tba
Week 5 Identity and Genetics – Kevin Moffatt (Warwick, Life Sciences)
Week 6 Posthuman Identity – Professor Kristin Girten (University of Nebraska Omaha)
Week 7 Cultural and Racial Identity – tba
Week 8 Identity and Mental Health – Viv Joseph (IATL)
Week 9 Social Constructions of Identity – Cath Lambert (Sociology, Warwick)

Week 10

Conclusion(s) – Nicholas Monk.

Reading List

Monk, Nicholas, et al, eds. Identity: A Transdisciplinary Approach. London: Palgrave- MacMillan. 2017.

Du Gay, Paul, et al. Identity: A Reader. London: Sage, 2008.

Identity Disturbance in Borderline Personality Disorder Tess Wilkinson-Ryan, A.B., and Drew Westen, Ph.D. (May 1st).

Views of the person with dementia Julian C Hughes, Newcastle General Hospital, Newcastle upon Tyne (May 1st).

Existential Phenomenology, Psychiatric Illness and the Death of Possibilities Matthew Ratcliffe, Durham University, UK; Matthew Broome, University of Warwick, UK (May 1st).

 Affect, Agency, and Engagement: Conceptions of the Person Peter Binns, Philosophy, Psychiatry, & Psychology, Volume 1, Number 1, March 1994, pp. 13-23


Amin Maalouf, In the Name of Identity: Violence and the Need to Belong (Penguin 2000); also available on Kindle with the title On Identity.

Damasio, Antonio. R. Descartes' Error: Emotion, Reason and the Human Brain. New York: Avon, 1994.

Malabou, Catherine. The New wounded: From Neurosis to Brain Damage. New York: Fordham University Press, 2012. (May 9th).

Seabrook, John. Nobrow: The Culture of Marketing, the Marketing of Culture. London: Methuen,

Module Convenors:

Professor Nicholas Monk


Autumn Term:

Wednesday 9.00 - 11.00 am


Humanities Studio


Reflective journal 3-5000 words (80%)

Forum participation up to 5000 words (20%)