How do we go about answering the question 'Who am I'? Identity provides an important means of understanding the world, from the individual to the collective. Globalisation and modern technologies gather and separate individuals and communities, creating and redefining both singular and shared identities. Historical concepts and personas are re-imagined through contemporary lenses, modifying past identities while affecting modern views of the self. Much has been made of the freedom and power of fluid, shifting, and multiple identities, yet the notion of an authentic and essential identity remains. Such contestations are part of the language used to discuss identity, as the phrase 'identity crisis' indicates. Identity can be 'found' and 'lost', disputed, negotiated, and subverted.

How is identity formed, maintained, and defined? How far does identity rely on differentiation, and how much on identification? Is identity constructed, or intrinsic? Does it change, and if so, how? How can identity be approached, (re)presented, and analysed in art, film, literature, media, music, and theatre? With increasing globalisation and rapidly changing technology, we are challenged to both redefine and protect identity on multiple levels. How has this affected views, portrayals, and performance of identities? Conversely, how has identity been portrayed and constructed in the past?

Editors: Siobhan Fitzgerald & Elysse T. Meredith

Published: 12-Dec-2010