Identity in the Internet Age

Jennifer MacGregor
Meeting Days/Times: 
Meeting Days/Times: Tuesday and Thursday 12:00 p.m. – 2:10 p.m.
Also Counts: 
This course also fulfills the SS general education requirement

The old adage commands: To thine own self be true. Do we have a Self to be true to? In this course we will explore historical and cultural conceptions of identity and identity development. Using sociological, philosophical, psychological and feminist ideas and methodologies, we’ll explore how technological advances and shifts in intellectual thought in the past century have caused a major re-evaluation of what it means to address the question, “Who am I? What comprises my Self?” Topics include the following: how and when does one’s identity develop, and how does attachment to digital machines influence the growing minds of children? Is our Self an unchanging, unitary entity located in the brain, as believed by early psychologists, or are we a loose and changing assortment of the various texts, images, people and situations we encounter, as some philosophers argue today? We will explore a variety of social network sites, from twitter to Second Life, as we confront sociologist Sherry Turkle’s belief that our computer-mediated lives leave us feeling “alone together.”