Section 4: Show and Tell

Skills Focus: Exposition Balancing concrete details and abstract claims, specific examples and generalizations

HW, part 1: Reading Kwame Anthony Appiah, The Lies That Bind: Rethinking Identity, pp. 3-32.

Today we turn from sociological and psychological approaches to consider a philosopher’s take on identity—in particular, social identity. Here’s how the book jacket describes what’s at stake in Appiah’s analysis:

“Who do you think you are? That’s a question bound up in another: What do you think you are? Gender. Religion. Race. Nationality. Class. Culture. Such affiliations give contours to our sense of self, and shape our polarized world. Yet the collective identities they spawn are riddled with contradictions, and cratered with falsehoods”

Optional If you’re interested in politics, you might enjoy reading a piece Appiah published in the Washington Post last fall titled “People Don’t Vote for What They Want. They Vote for Who They Are.” Also recommended is his Guardian piece titled “Can We Choose Our Own Identity?”

HW, part 2: Online Discussion In the unit 1 module of our canvas website, contribute to the online discussion by sharing your thoughts and questions about Appiah and other sources we’ve read and the various ideas about identity we’ve touched on.

HW, Part 3: Essay Plan—due Saturday, January 26 Draw up a provisional plan for your essay.
  1. Read the prompt for essay 1
  2. Describe the personal experience you plan to discuss and summarize your thoughts about it as an experience of identity
  3. What course reading do you plan to discuss?
    • Name the author(s) and title of the source
    • Quote the passage you plan to respond to, noting the relevant page number(s), if available
    • Paraphrase the source idea—present it in your own words
  4. Explain how you envision connecting your personal experience to the source idea
  5. Please email me your essay plan