"Identity" is one of the most hotly debated topics in literary theory and cultural studies. This bold and groundbreaking collection of ten essays argues that identity is not just socially constructed but has real epistemic and political consequences for how people experience the world. Advocating a "postpositivist realist" approach to identity, the essays examine the ways in which theory, politics, and activism clash with or complement each other, providing an alternative to the widely influential postmodernist understandings of identity. Although theoretical in orientation, this dynamic collection deals with specific social groups—Chicanas/os, African Americans, gay men and lesbians, Asian Americans, and others—and concrete social issues directly related to race, ethnicity, sexuality, epistemology, and political resistance.
Satya Mohanty's brilliant exegesis of Toni Morrison's Beloved serves as a launching pad for the collection. The essays that follow, written by prominent and up-and-coming scholars, address a range of topics—from the writings of Cherrie Moraga, Franz Fanon, Joy Kogawa, and Michael Nava to the controversy surrounding racial program housing on college campuses—and work toward a truly interdisciplinary approach to identity.
About the Author
PAULA M. L. MOYA, is the Danily C. and Laura Louise Bell Professor of the Humanities and Professor of English at Stanford University. She is the Burton J. and Deedee McMurtry University Fellow in Undergraduate Education and a 2019-20 Fellow at the Center for the Study of Behavioral Sciences.
Moya’s teaching and research focus on twentieth-century and early twenty-first century literary studies, feminist theory, critical theory, narrative theory, American cultural studies, interdisciplinary approaches to race and ethnicity, and Chicanx and U.S. Latinx studies.
She is the author of The Social Imperative: Race, Close Reading, and Contemporary Literary Criticism (Stanford UP 2016) and Learning From Experience: Minority Identities, Multicultural Struggles (UC Press 2002) and has co-edited three collections of original essays, Doing Race: 21 Essays for the 21st Century (W.W. Norton, Inc. 2010), Identity Politics Reconsidered (Palgrave 2006) and Reclaiming Identity: Realist Theory and the Predicament of Postmodernism (UC Press 2000).
Previously Moya served as the Director of the Program of Modern Thought and Literature, Vice Chair of the Department of English, Director of the Research Institute of Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity, and also the Director of the Undergraduate Program of the Center for Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity.
She is a recipient of the Dean’s Award for Distinguished Teaching, a Ford Foundation postdoctoral fellowship, the Outstanding Chicana/o Faculty Member award. She has been a Brown Faculty Fellow, a Clayman Institute Fellow, a CCSRE Faculty Research Fellow, and a Clayman Beyond Bias Fellow.