Why and how do contemporary questions of culture become so highly charged questions of identity? The question of cultural identity lies at the heart of current debates in cultural studies and social theory. Are the distinctive identities that have defined the social and cultural world of modern societies for so long–gender, sexuality, race, class, and nationality–in decline? And have they given rise to new forms of identification, thus fragmenting the modern individual as a unified subject? Questions of Cultural Identity offers a wide-ranging exploration of these issues, outlining the reasons why the question of identity is so compelling and yet so problematic. Individual contributors interrogate different dimensions of the crisis of identity providing both theoretical and substantive insights into its contemporary manifestations. Without privileging any one approach to the problem of identity, the book opens up a number of significant questions and offers insights into different approaches to understanding identity. In doing so, it both illuminates and advances debates about identity and its futures.
This title is included in “Holding Space: A Shortlist Exploring the Complexity of Asian American Identity”. Publications that address the complexities of the Asian American and Asian diasporic experience in the field of contemporary art are few and far between. As an organization based in the U.S. and serving a diasporic Asian community, we have experienced firsthand both the desire for knowledge in this space as well as the frustration due to its paucity. “Holding Space” is a shortlist composed of a selection of publications housed at our reading room that begins to redress this scarcity. This list is by no means exhaustive; rather, it represents the start of a continued commitment to fill this gap.