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School of History

HST5704 - Inventing Identity: How Medicine, Science, and the State Made Us Who We Are

Module code: HST5704

Credits: 15
Semester: 1

Module Convenor: Jenny Bangham

‘Identity’ is central to cultural and political discourses today. Gender, racial, ethnic, sexual, (dis)ability and national identities are understood to define our beliefs, opinions, experiences and power. But how did such identities gain meaning? How have they been made and remade over the last two centuries? This module explores how medicine, science and bureaucratic states actively constructed, shaped and disrupted notions of ‘identity’ in the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries. In doing so, the module keeps power at the forefront, and emphasizes the active making of identities—exploring, for example, the uses of passports, blood tests, diaries and art exhibitions, in spaces such as museums and hospitals, prisons and borders.

Assessment: Learning Log 40% Essay 60%

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