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Visual & Performing Arts
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Identity Crisis in a Society Driven World (Term Paper Sample)

VCC304: Visual Culture and the Politics of Identity Term Paper Assignment 40% of Final Course Grade Deadline: 25 March 2012 Submit two identical copies of the paper: 1. Hardcopy submitted in Lecture. 2. Electronic copy submitted to Basic Structure: - 2,500 words (approximately 9 pages) - Double-spaced - 10-12 point font - 1-inch margins (minimum) - Footnotes or Endnotes (your choice) - Complete List of References (formatted according to a single style guide, e.g. MLA) - Proofread for Spelling and Grammar Errors - Include a title Criteria of Evaluation/Grading Rubric 1. Quality of the Writing (spelling, grammar, syntax) and Organization of the Paper. 2. Quality of the Argument (logical, coherent, substantiated and persuasive). 3. Engagement with the Assigned Texts. 4. Analysis of the three principal works under study. 5. Originality of Discussion. 6. Ability to problematize many of the conventional understandings and prevailing assumptions about identity and passing. For example: by NOT arguing that subjects who pass are liars enamored by deception and driven by self-interest, and that the violence that they suffer is of their own making. 7. Ability to critically scrutinize all subject-positions and identity-formations including of those most closely aligned with the normative, and often violent forms of interpellation. This term paper assignment requires you to analyze the psycho-social phenomenon of “passing” as presented in each of the three principal works that we have studied this term: Nella Larsen's novel Passing (1929), Jenny Livingston's Paris is Burning (1990), and Kimberly Peirce's Boy's Don't Cry (1999). Your analysis should be based upon a close reading of each of these works, and on the theoretical-critical texts that we have been reading throughout the term(I can provide the sources to you through messages). Your paper should not solely focus on those subjects who “pass,” but should discuss and critically analyze all of the main subjects involved in each story/scenario. In this way you stand the chance of avoiding the risk and error pointing out by Cornel West, namely, of only talking about the victims when talking about identity. As we have throughout the course, in your paper you will want to scrutinize all subjects, including those that are more closely aligned with hegemonic norms and/or act as perpetrators of violence. Your paper should address the following questions and issues 1. Forms of passing: racial, gender, sexual, and class (and their intersections). 2. Forms of normativity and normalization. 3. Identity and Identification: a. Fantasy and the Phantasmatic b. Imaginary c. Idealization d. Desire, Attraction e. Anxiety, Fear, Terror 4. Performativity 5. Specific operations and inter-relations in the three works of: a. Power (protect thy self) b. Knowledge (know thy self) c. Truth (care for the self) 6. Violence, including the violence of normalization, and of seizing the “truth” of the subject through the imperative that insists that that subject speak the “truth” about itself by claiming identity or allowing an identity to be inscribed upon that subjectivity. Foucault suggests that rather than engage in ideological critique and what he refers to in his interview on “The History of Sexuality” as the “economy of the non-true” (meaning: of only thinking of power in terms of interdiction, repression, repudiation, and false-consciousness or of knowledge in terms of lying and deception), that we understand the politics of identity to be a politics of (the production of) the true. Identity then, is to be understood as the search for the truth of subjectivity. So rather than enter into debates over whether identities—those performed in passing or other forms—are true or false, authentic or not, and whether the subjects performing them are telling the truth or being deceptive (and relatedly, others as being deceived), you will want to ask what it is that constitutes a sense of truth about identity in each of these stories, and how that sense of truth mobilizes and activates power relations in which various subjects are caught up, find agency, comfort, pleasure, danger, threats, violence, and even death. Therefore the ways in which truth gets attached or detached from subjects and identities (that is to say, how these subjects are invented and these identities constructed and performed) is what makes the question of the subject and identity, a question of political concern. source..

(Your Name)
Identity Crisis in a Society Driven World
This paper studies the individual as he or she is shaped by the society where they live in. A careful pursuit using an analysis of three different representations of how the society shapes an individual is used. The study involves an analysis of how power is induced by an individual or society toward another.
Keywords: Identity, Power, Society
Identity is something that is personal, it is on the belief that man can choose for himself. How man constructs his identity identifies who he is. It is predicated on how one constructs his own desires, even in death. Identity is the longing to belong, as Cornel West termed. Humanity identifies to other people based on their race, gender, sexuality or class. Man can identify to a certain race but can be greatly negative toward other`s gender or class. The relationships between these identifiers are co-relational; this means that humanity is not determined by one single factor. This allows complex mixtures of the races, gender, sexuality and class. As humans start to develop their own identity, they realize and learn things that may have not been known to them before. Passing was understood as a phenomenon in which a person of one race, gender, sexuality or class and identifies him or herself as part of another. Passing is defined as "a deception that enables a person to adopt specific roles or identities from, which he or she would otherwise be barred by prevailing standards;.Passing, therefore allows a person to develop an identity that is not his own, instead, he is identified based on the different race, gender or sexuality that he or she tries to portray. A man chooses who he or she is based on what society he or she is living in. Racial passing have long captivated the attention of American viewers and readers. Rather than studying race, gender, sexuality, and class as distinctive social hierarchies, new studies have focused into examining how these different concepts mutually construct one another. Studies like intersectionality allow researchers to identify the different outcomes of the interaction between these different concepts.[How you construct your identity is predicated on how you construct desire, and how you conceive of death: desire for recognition; quest for visibility; the sense of being acknowledged; a deep desire for association - affiliation (West).] [Kennedy (2003) provides a more precise definition and defines passing as ‘‘a deception that enables a person to adopt specific roles or identities from which he or she would otherwise be barred by prevailing social standards`` (Khanna and Johnson)] [The idea of the "passing plot" encompasses many different kinds of stories. I use the term to refer to narratives that focus on the consequences of being genotypically black for a character or characters who pass for white, at least intermittently....
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