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   Course Title    Identity Construction and Regional Studies: Theory and Practice
Lecturer    Ioulia Ouliannikova
Institution    Sakhalin State University
Country    Russia


This course aims to promote the issue of regional identity among History Department students and direct their attention to the theory of identity as well as practical means of power politics in this sphere. To achieve this goal the course explores a variety of topics in order to increase the understanding of how identities were shaped historically and how they are constructed and reconsidered today. Among the topics of interest are the historical origin of national, ethnic and state identities of NIS and Eastern Europe, peculiarities of regional territorial development, the impact of contemporary political and social processes on the identity construction, representation of "regionality" through different institutions – art, culture, media, formal organizations, etc.

Skills acquired:


8 Lectures (attendance) 10%

4 Workshops (participation) 40%

Research Project 50%


The course is one semester optional pass/fail for last year history students.


A proportional number of lectures and seminars stipulates the interactive character of the course. The subject of identity demands a deep understanding of theoretical problems as well as of the same deep self-analysis. In this respect, this course could be described as the course of self-explaining and self-understanding. During their workshop preparations and research projecting, students are to communicate to people of different backgrounds, conduct interviews, analyze mass-media materials, which will help them deconstruct their own biases and to re-create a new, more tolerant picture of the world.

Peer presentations and assessments, as well as group work, should help students with their future work and communication skills.


Week 1.


1. Identity: general notion.

2. Philosophical backgrounds of the notion of identity.

Research Project Planning. Stage I – topic.


Lectures cover the problem of identity issues raising during the period of so called ‘politics of recognition’ after 1960s, and further go to the background of these ‘recognition’, which lies not only in politics, but deeper in philosophy. Philosophy of identity arises in contradiction between classical and non-classical philosophies, and appears as the notion of ‘empty entities’ and ‘false objects’.

Week 2.


3. Psychological level of identity issues.

4. Personal identity. Gender issues.

Research Project Planning. Stage II – plan.


The course proceeds with the notion of personal identity, with the problem of personality as it appeared in European intellectual discourse. The problems to be examined are: what are the levels of personal self-perception, are they fixed or shifting; what is sex and what is gender (as an example of fixed/changing identity).

Week 3.


5. Group identity. Ethnic and national issues of identity.

6. Cultural identity.

Research Project Developing. Stage III – research methods and bibliography.


The next issue to be discussed is group identity. European intellectual discourse on the problem – what gets people together? The notion of "unsociable sociability". Ethnic and national theories as a mode of self-explanation and self-justification. Nation-state building process in Europe, its applications to the notion of identity. National and Cultural identities – synonimes or oxymorones?

Week 4.

Workshop 1. Soviet-Russian identity. Homo soveti?us.

Week 5.


7. Political issues of identity. Social Constructivism.

8. Identity symbols.


Emergence of Social Constructivist theories and its application to identity politics. Notion of construction and de-construction as it appeared in 1960-70s. European structuralist and deconstructivist intellectual discourse. Symbolic space and identity construction through different modes of reality.

Week 6.

Workshop 2. Research Project Developing. Stage IV – First draft presentation. Group discussion

Week 7.

Workshop 3. Identity mobilization (on the examples of Siberia and the Russian Far East).

Week 8.

Workshop 4. Research Project Presentation. Peer Assessment.



Note: the following books and articles are to be used to compose the mandatory and optional materials later. English editions are used for lecture preparation, Russian language sources are for students. The list is not exhaustive and is constantly updated.

  1. Anderson, B., Imagined Communities. (London: Verso.1983).
  2. Anglin, Mary K. ‘A question of loyalty: National and regional identity in narratives of Appalachia’ in Anthropological Quaterly, Jul 1992, Vol. 65, Issue 3.
  3. Bassin, Mark ‘Inventing Siberia: Visions of the Russian Far East in the Early Ninteenth Century’ in American Historical Review, Vol.96, 1991, #3.
  4. Bellah, Robert M. Cultural Identity and Asian Modernization. –, 27.02.2001
  5. Black, Jeremy Maps and History: Constructing Images of the Past (Yale University Press: London and New Haven, 2000).
  6. Boswell, David and Evans, Jessica, Eds., Representing a Nation. A Reader. (Routledge: London and NY, 1998).
  7. Brace, Catherine ‘Finding England Everywhere: Regional identity and the construction of national identity (1890-1940)’ in ECUMENE, Jan. 1999, Vol. 6, Issue 1.
  8. Burnham, P.M. and Giese L.H. ‘"Constructions" and Postmodern Cultural Studies’ in Journal of Interdisciplinary History, XXVII:4 (Spring, 1998).
  9. Calhoun, C., (Ed.) Social theory and the politics of identity.(Oxford: Blackwell, 1994).
  10. Garfinkel, H., Studies in Ethnonethodology. (New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, 1967.)
  11. Gergen, K. J., Social Construction and the Transformation of Identity Politics. -, 20.01.2001.
  12. Gillis, J. R., (ed.) Commemorations: The Politics of National Identity. (Princeton University Press: Princeton, New Jersey, 1994.)
  13. Goffman, E., Strategic interaction. (Oxford, 1970.)
  14. Hall,Stuart and Du Gay, Paul Eds. Questions of Cultural Identity (Sage Publications: London, 2000).
  15. Hansen, Kjell ‘Emerging Ethnification in Marginal Areas of Sweden’ in Sociologia Ruralis, Jul 1999, Vol. 39, Issue 3.
  16. Hutton, P. H., History as an Art of Memory. (University of Vermont: Hanover and London, 1993.)
  17. Kelley, Heidi ‘The myth of matriarchy: Symbols of womanhood in Galician regional identity’ in Anthropological Quaterly, Apr 1994, Vol. 67, Issue 2.
  18. Langman, L. ‘Identity, Hegemony, and Social Representation’ in Current Perspective in Social Theory, Vol.18, 1998.
  19. Madan, Triloki N. Cultural Identity and Modernization in Asian Countries: Some Indian Questions Soliciting Japanese Answers.
  20. Merz E., Parmentier R. J. (eds.) Semiotic mediation: Sociocultural and psychological perspectives. (L.: Acad. Press, 1985.)
  21. Modell, Judith ‘From Ethnographies to Encounters: Differences and Others’ in Journal of Interdisciplinary History, XXVII:3 (Winter, 1997).
  22. Moscovici, S., >Social Representations Theory and Social Constructionism.
  23. Phelan, S., Identity politics. (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1989).
  24. Preez, P. Du, The politics of identity. (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1980).
  25. Ratanacul, Pinit Some Notes on the Humanities and National Identity.
  26. Rutherford, J., (ed.), Identity: Community, Culture, Difference. (London: Lawrence and Wishart, 1990).
  27. Ryden, Kent C. ‘Writing the Midwest: History, Literature, and Regional Identity’ in Geographical Review, Oct. 1999, Vol. 89, Issue 4.
  28. Sampson, E. E., ‘Identity politics: challenges to psychology's understanding’ in American Psychologist, ? 48 (1993).
  29. Sarkisova, O., ‘Edges of Empire: Representations of Borderland Identities in Early Soviet Cinema’ in Ab Imperio, ?1. – 2000.
  30. Scollon, Ron and Scollon, Suzanne Wong Intercultural Communications (Blackwell: Oxford, UK and Cambridge, USA, 2000).
  31. Silverman, David Interpreting Qualitative Data: Method for Analysing Talk, Text and Interaction (Sage Publications: London, 2000).
  32. Silverman David Ed., Qualitative Research: Theory, Method and Practice (Sage Publications: London, 1998).
  33. Skirbekk, Gunnar and Gilje, Nils A History of Western Thought: from Ancient Greece to the twentieth century (Routledge: New York and London, 2001).
  34. Sternberg, The ethnic myth. (Boston: Beacon, 1989).
  35. Stolberg, Eva-Maria Siberia – Russia’s Wild East: Some Notes about Frontierism, 1890-1915. –, 22.03.2001.
  36., 15.04.2001.

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