10 September 2015

Hyphenated Identities: Discourses, Questions, and Polemics - Call for Papers

Category: Conferences, Holocaust, Research projects, News


Hyphenated Identities: Discourses, Questions, and Polemics is a conference sponsored by the Transregional Center of Democratic Studies along with the Columbia University Yiddish Studies and Polish Studies programs and The Memory Group at The New School.


Horace M. Kallen, American-Jewish philosopher and one of the founders of the New School, was an important voice in the national debate on American identity. As a proponent of cultural pluralism, in his 1915 essay “Democracy Versus the Melting Pot,” he resoundingly espoused the concept of hyphenated identity, asserting that American identity is “a chorus of many voices each singing a rather different tune.”

A century later, the number of “hyphens”, or multiple identities one embraces, continues to grow worldwide. Nationality, ethnicity, race, and religion are negotiated, defined and discussed: both in public and scholarly discourse. Today, academic engagement with identity encounters ongoing real-world negotiations of self and community: throughout ethnic conflicts, population shifts, migrations and political transformations; in wartime landscapes and stable democracies alike. Are the hyphenated identities affirmative or limiting? Do they enrich communities or stigmatize them? What happens when one’s identities are in conflict?

The conference “Hyphenated Identities: Discourses, Questions, and Polemics” will explore the debates on hybrid or complex identities, examining the meanings that the hyphenated identity carries today within established democracies as well as within those that have emerged in countries undergoing political transformations, especially – but not exclusively – in the post-Soviet realm. What are the key discourses— political, cultural, artistic — that are informed by hyphenated identities? How do these key discourses redefine the concept of complex identities? How do minorities negotiate their shifting identities? What role does public and private memory (or counter-memory) play in shaping and shifting identities? How do these processes affect communities?

The scope of our interest includes, but is not limited to the following issues:

*Identity in new democracies as well as in the old ones — political/cultural decisions, negotiations, discussions, confrontations

*Discussions on identity within minority groups

*Politics of memory and identity

*New diasporas and identities

*Gender: new discussions, old discussions

*Language and its role in shaping identities.



Brief abstracts – of no more than 300 words — should be submitted by email to by October 1, 2015.


Venue: New School of Social Research

66 West 12th Street, New York

Orozco Room, A 712, Alvin Johnson/J. M. Kaplan Hall

Time: December 4, 2015, 9am-6pm



New School for Social Research: Transregional Center for Democratic Studies and The Memory Group

In collaboration with:

The East Central European Center of Columbia University, Yiddish Studies Program, and Polish Studies at Columbia University


Source: New School For Social Research

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