George Herbert Mead was heavily influenced by pragmatism, a distinctly American brand of philosophy that emerged after the horrors of the Civil War. In this NPR segment, author Louis Menand discusses his book on the cultural and historical origins of pragmatist philosophy.
This PBS series follows Henry Louis Gates, Jr., as he explores the role of colonialism in the making of race and identity in Latin America. Full episodes and additional content are available online.
This compelling documentary traces the life of Puerto Rican rapper Hamza Pérez, a former drug dealer who converts to Islam and moves to Pittsburgh in search of faith and empowerment in a post-9/11 world. A great example of the complex intersections among race, class, religion, and nationality.
Gillo Pontecorvo’s powerful film about the 1950s struggle of Algerian independence provides many vivid examples of colonial subjugation as well as important context for Fanon’s White Skin, Black Masks. The scenes of Algerian women cutting their hair so they can pass French checkpoints and plant bombs in French cafés are particularly striking. Click here for more information.
A film portraying the rise and assassination of Patrice Lumumba, the first legally elected prime minister of the Republic of Congo after the country won its independence from colonial Belgium. An intriguing portrayal of postcolonial struggle and politics. Click here for more information.
A beautifully animated film that poignantly and humorously explores the intersections of gender, religion, and nationality. Click here for more information.
Based on real-life events, this film tells the story of a black girl born to white parents in 1950s apartheid South Africa. Provides a profound illustration of the struggles of living a life defined by racial double-consciousness.
This award-winning article about David Reimann, whose sex reassignment as a young boy due to a botched circumcision later became a medical scandal, raises important issues about sexual identity and is cited by Butler in Undoing Gender as an example of how “intersex” is oversimplified as a medical problem.
Renowned biologist Fausto-Sterling explains how human biology does not fit into two and only two sexes.
A smart and often funny look into the practices of sexual confession on television talk shows. A great companion to Foucault’s work on sexuality and discourse.
Goffman’s classic exploring how certain characteristics can spoil someone’s identity in the face of others is a great addition to any course delving into the sticky issues of the self.
In an age of virtual reality and advanced biotechnologies, Hayles has us ponder whether our identities now extend beyond the human.
This collection of fifteen essays from various Goffman scholars discusses his lasting legacy in contemporary sociology. Manning’s chapter on the interaction order of two Boston campus taverns may be of particular interest to Social Theory Re-Wired readers.
A leading Foucault scholar argues that the discipline of psychology has played a huge part in the construction of contemporary personhood. Psychology, he provocatively argues, does not discover who we are. It invents who we are.
Rose explores the consequences of twenty-first-century medicine’s ability to alter our selves at the molecular level. Takes Foucauldian thinking on identity into the age of the human genome.
Social psychologist Schwartz discusses how choice overwhelms us and leaves us dissatisfied. A great contemporary expansion of Simmel’s ideas on the personal consequences associated with the proliferation of cultural options in modern societies.
Simmel’s groundbreaking study of how the advent of money shapes individuality and the social order.
A fascinating look into the social and cultural origins of human consciousness from the perspective of evolutionary theory.