Identity is sometimes imagined to be a fundamental aspect of the self—an accounting of who or what one truly is. Anyone who claims an identity, however, knows identity is much more complicated than that. Race, gender, ethnicity, sexuality, nationality, native language, socio-economic status, and myriad other identities shape our worldview: how we see, how we portray ourselves, and how we are perceived (and received). Identity can and does unite people under the banner of sameness, but it can also divide us from one another, and even from ourselves.
Identity can reduce complex feelings and a lifetime’s worth of experiences to a few simple words. It can also expand people’s understanding of what feelings and experiences mean or could mean. Identities can be fixed or settled, or at least feel fixed or settled. But they can also be emerging—something to be sought out, discovered, or actively worked toward.
During the fall of 2022, we invite members of the College and campus community to reflect on identity and all that it entails. This includes the process of identification, where we engage in discovery, exploration, and communication around who--or what--someone or something is. The process of identification requires us to ask critical questions and allows us to hone our ability to do so. Some questions might include: How are identities constituted, and how do identities constitute us? How do identities, gain social or scientific acceptance? What does it mean to identify someone or something criminal? What does it mean to identify with someone or something: a cause; a community; a culture; a nation: a solution; a savior; a cure? - Adapted from IU Themester Homepage
From top left to bottom right: Memento, Call Me by Your Name, Moonlight , Bend it Like Beckham, Fight Club, Shutter Island.
All images courtesy of imdb.com; accessed August 2021
The following resources require IUB CAS Authentication.
Identity (60 min., 2011) What makes one group of humans different from another? In this program, Stephen Fry argues that above all, it is the way they speak - be it a national language, regional dialect, or even class variation. Visiting markets in Kenya and call centers in Newcastle, Fry charts the shifting patterns of lingua franca and the inexorable spread of Globish (global English). Topics include English accents (with Ian McMillan); multilingualism; Jewish humor and Yiddish; an Irish soap opera that's keeping the Irish language alive; language death in Provence; the survival of Basque and the revival of Hebrew; the French Academy; and languages used by the Turkana people of Kenya.
Identity Crisis: Self-image in Childhood (60 min., 2005) What shapes a child's identity-situation and surroundings, or unchangeable factors within the child? This program weighs in on that question by capturing the emotional and psychological development of 25 boys and girls at age five. In fascinating and sometimes disturbing scenes, the children reveal clear signals about their self-worth and their expectations for the future that bear strong connection to nationality, gender, skin color, economic class, and the presence or absence of either parent. Powerful in its social implications as well as its emotional impact, Identity Crisis brings vital documentation to the nature vs. nurture debate.
Issues of Latino Identity: Yearning to Be… (29 min., 2001) Though Hispanic people journey to the United States from different homelands, do they all share the same heritage and concerns? This program takes a detailed look at the fastest-growing minority in the U.S. and what it means to be Latino and American. The documentary contrasts the experience of being a Latino in a flourishing ethnic neighborhood of a big city with living in a small town, where many Latinos feel isolated. Interviews with individuals stepping up to the roles of leadership in the Hispanic community cover a large spectrum of subjects, including social services, churches, business, and the arts.
Love, Simon (109 min., 2018) Everyone deserves a great love story. But for Simon it's complicated: no-one knows he's gay and he doesn't know who the anonymous classmate is that he's fallen for online. Resolving both issues proves hilarious, scary and life-changing.
Multiracial Identity (77 min., 2011) Multiracial people are the fastest growing demographic in America, yet there is no official political recognition for mixed-race people. This film explores the social, political, and religious impact of the multiracial movement and the lived experience of being multiracial.
Searching for a Native American Identity (30 min., 1988) This program features the late Michael Dorris and Louise Erdrich, a husband-and-wife team who collaborated as writers before his untimely death. They attribute their beliefs in family, community, and place to their Native American heritage: she is half Chippewa, he is half Modoc. As Native Americans, their writing reflects the difficulties of American Indians today. In this program with Bill Moyers, Erdrich and Dorris discuss faith and the search for a Native American identity in a pluralistic society.
Sexual Identity (18 min., 2013) This program addresses the changes youth undergo as their sexuality and sexual identity develop during adolescence. The first half of the program discusses the complex nature of personal identity, gender, and sexual orientation. The second half looks at ways in which viewers can make informed, responsible choices about sex and examines key elements of healthy relationships like respect and open communication. Ideal for junior to middle-high health and guidance studies, the clever animated sequences and engaging, relatable young presenter are well suited for this audience. Above all, the program promotes the acceptance of diversity and highlights the importance of making decisions that are best for your health and well being.
Struggle for Identity Issues in Transracial Adoption (20 min., 2011) Because of all the upheavals worldwide and the social problems in our own country, many idealistic people are tempted to rescue children through foster care and adoption. But they may not be prepared for the kinds of problems that can arise. This powerful new video brings into focus the issue of race, culture and identity in adoptive or foster families It is refreshing to hear teenagers speak so candidly about their conflicts and confusions. One African American girl says "My parents are Swedish American and I love my parents, but at the same time ... we need to look to black parents to give us the answers." Another girl remembers that as a child she desperately wanted to return to her country. Another young man questions how parents will react when their adopted kids goes through the "anti-white stage." This film will be a useful resource for social workers, psychologists and counselors.
A Tail of Identity (9 min., 2009) A film about three "furries": people who feel, deep-down inside, that being human actually constrains who they are, and they prefer dressing up as animal characters.
Transgender and Gender Identity (29 min., 2015) Many people confuse the concepts of sexual orientation and gender identity. Gender identity is the term describing your sense of your gender expression - do you identify as male or female or both or neither? Matt and Denise are F to M and M to F persons who are transgendered. They give insight into their transitions and their lives. Cailynn and Chris use "gender queer" and "a gendered" to describe themselves. Where do you fit on the gender continuum?
Explore more awesome documentaries and feature films via IUCAT as well as via IUB's licensed subscriptions to Films for Education, Kanopy and SWANK at Media Services Libguide to Streaming Databases.
Be sure to check with Media Services for hours. VHS titles are housed off-site at ALF, and can be requested via IUCAT.
3 Women (124 min., 2004) In a dusty, under-populated California resort town, Pinky Rose, a naive and impressionable Southern waif begins her life as a nursing home attendant. There, Pinky finds her role model in fellow nurse Millie, a misguided would-be sophisticate and hopeless devotee of sophisticated ladies magazines.
A Beautiful Mind (136 min., 2001) The true story of a troubled Princeton mathematician who is able to overcome years of suffering from schizophrenia to win the Nobel Prize.
Black Swan (108 min., 2010) Nina is a ballerina in a New York City ballet company. Her life, like most in her profession, is completely consumed with dance. She lives with her mother Erica, a former ballerina who exerts a suffocating control over her. When artistic director Thomas Leroy decides to replace prima ballerina Beth MacIntyre for the opening production of their new season, Swan Lake, Nina is his first choice. But Nina has competition: new dancer Lily, who impresses Leroy as well. Swan Lake requires a dancer who can play both the White Swan with innocence and grace, and the Black Swan, who represents guile and sensuality. Nina fits the White Swan role perfectly but Lily is the personification of the Black Swan. As the two young dancers expand their rivalry into a twisted friendship, Nina begins to get more in touch with her dark side - a recklessness that threatens to destroy her.
Fight Club (139 min., 1999) When a ticking-time-bomb insomniac and a soap salesman channel their aggresion into therapeutic "fight clubs", an eccentric woman gets in the way and ignites an out-of-control spiral toward oblivion.
The Machinist (102 min., 2004) Trevor Reznik hasn't slept in a year. The shocking deterioration of his physical and mental health has made his every waking moment an unrelenting state of confusion, paranoia, guilt, anxiety and terror. His only solace from this living nightmare comes from an affectionate prostitute. When cryptic notes turn up mysteriously in his apartment and hallucinations of a co-worker that no one else sees causes a gruesome machine shop injury, he embarks on a journey to find out whether there is an elaborate plot to drive him mad or his fatigue has simply robbed him of reason.
Memento (113 min., 2000) Leonard Shelby is searching for the man who raped and murdered his wife. He survived, but developed a mind block due to the attack. He can remember everything from before, but memories of anything that followed come and go every few minutes.
Mulholland Drive (147 min., 2001) A beautiful woman riding in a limosine along Los Angeles' Mulholland Drive is targeted by a would-be shooter, but before he can pull the trigger, she is injured when her limo is hit by another car. The woman stumbles away from the accident and meets up with a plucky ingenue new to L.A. But are things really as they seem?
Persona (83 min., 1966) A famous actress is stricken with psychosomatic dumbness and is placed under a nurse's care in an isolated house, where the two gradually assume each other's personalities.
Shutter Island (137 min., 2009) When U.S. Marshall Teddy Daniels arrives at the asylum for the criminally insane on Shutter Island, what starts as a routine investigation quickly takes a sinister turn. As the investigation unfolds and Daniels uncovers more shocking and terrifying truths about the island, he also learns there are some places that never let you go.
Under the Skin (108 min., 2013) An alien in the form of a voluptuous young woman combs the streets of Scotland in search of men. She lures a succession of lost souls into her otherworldly lair, where they are seduced, stripped of their humanity, and never heard from again.
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