[A Student Directed Seminar]

Questions contemporaines sur l’identité / Current Issues on Identity

Enseigné en français et en anglais, ce cours se penchera sur l’influence des problèmes d’identité dans notre monde contemporain dans un séminaire étudiant coordonné par Maximilien Azorin et sponsorisé par le professeur Ralph Sarkonak.

In an increasingly globalized world, our shared identities – ethnic, political, religious, social – are not innate, immutable, invulnerable to outside influences.  What becomes of our identity, for example, if we emigrate from the land in which it has been rooted?  Or if others who share our identity, or even we ourselves, are caught up in identity-based conflict?  What leads certain individuals to feel stripped of any meaningful identity at all and to fill the void with some form of radical ideology or even fanaticism? This Student Directed Seminar (SDS) will address some of these questions, which have a serious impact on how individuals behave today, and which are widely debated in political and academic circles.

A second major focus of this seminar will be language, which is inseparable from identity. A language cannot be understood without its associated identities, and identities cannot be fully expressed without their mother tongue. So not only will the relationship of language to identity be discussed and debated, but the seminar itself – background reading, discussion, presentations, written assignments and the feedback that they inspire – will be conducted bilingually, in French and in English.

Working bilingually, we will explore the political and social impact of bilingualism and multilingualism on, for example, post-colonial societies where native languages have displaced the once dominant language of a colonial power, or on the European Union with its twenty-four official languages. It is our hope that, by learning together in a bilingual environment where they are asked to formulate their own ideas and opinions and to understand one another in two languages, the seminar’s participants – anglophones and francophones, students of French and students of Political Science – will enjoy a unique experience and will gain insight into the phenomenon of human identity and into the forces that produce it, transform it or threaten it.

Michèle Maillet, L’étoile noire (Oh! Editions)
Articles de sciences politiques en français et en anglais.

At least a good 300-level student’s command of French, interest in political science and francophone literature, and the curiosity to learn in a fully bilingual environment.

Langues d’enseignement: français et anglais.

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