Variation in Identity

I’m uncomfortable with any culture that encourages you take on an entire identity, rather than to express a facet of your own identity (“maker,” rather than “someone who makes things”).

Debbie Chachra, “Why I Am Not a Maker,” The Atlantic, January 23, 2015.

I think this quote brings up an important point about identities situated within the context of society. There are several ways in which the placement of identity onto an individual takes away some of their power. When labels are placed on people, there is an expectation from others about those people’s conduct and engagement in society. As a result of these limited perceptions, there can be less involvement with differences, whether that be in terms of diversity or different methods of engagement. Both of those elements are connected and also related to the goal of accessibility in the field of digital humanities. In addition, I think this quote addresses the diversity within an individual’s identity, similar to the interdisciplinary nature of digital humanities. If one only focuses on one element of digital humanities, they miss the opportunity to engage with a larger perspective. Similarly, if a person’s identity is restricted by a single label, then they may in turn have difficulty pushing the boundaries of what society has already designated, discovered, and created. I think each label has connotations, whether that be of obligation, hierarchy, or positionality. For example, as students, we may be expected to listen to teachers or be studying, depending on the context. This is not necessarily harmful, unless that limits the students ability to engage with other areas of their lives. At Carleton, I feel that as so many of us have the shared identity of being a student, we are able to engage with other perspectives and activities. In addition to studying, I have acted, tutored, and danced. I find it interesting how all these different identities intersect. I think digital humanities offers the opportunity to engage with different disciplines and I am excited to find the variations and intersections between them.


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