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Thoughts on Identity

Posted by Robyn on January 27, 2013 in Ethics, phd, Religion, Theology |

I am neck deep in writing the dissertation, and the issue of identity has emerged:  who am I?  I was talking with a colleague friend the other day and I exclaimed:  “I think I’m a Philosophical Theologian who does and thinks about Ethics.”  She agreed.  This propelled me to continue my thinking around identity, and specifically who really am I as a scholar.  My degrees have all come from Schools of Theology and I have been taught to think theologically and philosophically about all things.  Now, as I move to finish my Ph.D. I wonder what this all means, and how my identity continues to become.

As I ponder this, I think about the tradition of European Continental Philosophy and my own exposure to the tradition of Social Ethics.  I’ve been inclined to identify with European Continental Philosophy and various Latin American Thinkers–both seem to want to challenge existing ideologies and offer ‘new’ ways of thinking.  So, who does this make me?  A child who was born in the State of Texas in the United States who grew into an adult in West Texas at a Baptist University, then flourished in a seminary in Chicago, now completing a dissertation in the West, Colorado.  My physical and intellectual nomadism–that particular type of movement between places–has birthed an identity.  I call it:  Philosopher-Theologian-Ethicist.  I write philosophy, some say.  I do Ethics, others claim.  I think theologically on most days, and find a particular rhythm that is almost liturgical in my thinking.

Identity is challenging.  There is no clear-cut stable identity that emerges.  It is always a negotiated identity, an unstable identity–an identity that irrupts in the borderlands and becomes in between points of contact.  It is a nomadic identity  whose subjectivity carefully unfolds while moving in between certain points along the way.

I do not seek to categorize this identity as a ‘something,’ but rather allow it to unfold and become whatever it may.

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