Faculty Lecture to Discuss Identity in the Digital Era

As part of the Farquhar College of Arts and Sciences Faculty Lecture Series, Jason Piccone, Ph.D., assistant professor in the college, will present “Edward Sampson’s Celebrating the Other in the Era of Technology-Bound Identity.” This talk will take place on Thursday, Mar. 31, from noon to 1:00 p.m., in the Parker Building, room 240.

In his book, Celebrating the Other: A Dialogic Account of Human Nature, Edward Sampson critiques the individualistic emphasis in Western culture and science. This argument posits that we generate our identities through a self-celebratory monologue, which entails proclaiming ourselves as heroic protagonists and others as tools to verify this self-belief. He argues that this focus on the self comes at the expense of the other, who is cast in a supportive and subservient role. In particular, non-dominant groups (non-white, non-male, non-heterosexual) are used as props to further bolster the dominant voice.

Sampson proposes an alternative perspective that emphasizes a dialogic approach in which individuals are not self-contained entities, but mutually influential entities whose voices are given equal weight. In the 17 years since Celebrating the Other’s publication, the nature of identity has shifted from a traditional social-interaction-based concept to a more technologically bound concept. For instance, identity is increasingly conveyed and maintained within technological domains such as social networks and blogs.

This talk will examine how the dynamics of self and other celebration (or denial) is transforming. Further, Piccone will attempt to apply Sampson’s recommendations for the celebration of the other in this context.

The annual Faculty Lecture Series draws from the knowledge and expertise of more than 120 full-time faculty members within the Farquhar College of Arts and Sciences. The series explores the faculty’s diverse areas of interest in the arts, humanities, social sciences, physical sciences, and biological sciences.

These talks are free and open to the public. For more information on the college’s Faculty Lecture Series, contact Jim Doan, Ph.D., professor in the college, at (954) 262-8207.

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