Who Do You Think You Are? On Critical Identity Theories - POLI6890

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Module delivery information

This module is not currently running in 2024 to 2025.


The main title can be read in two ways. On the one hand, it is an appeal to reflect on the conditions of our subjectivity. On the other hand, it can be read as the expression of a judgement upon a subject's ability to act/speak/feel etc. In this module, both of these aspects will be explored: 'what are the conditions of our identity, and how do these relate to differences between us?’, and ‘what is the nature of judgement and when, if ever, is it legitimate to judge others?’. This will then form the basis for a third part of the module which will consider the extent to which reflection on oneself and the judgement of others are related or not. This nexus of issues is at the heart of contemporary debates about identity politics and the primary literature for the module will draw from these debates. Equally importantly, however, is that these contemporary debates speak directly to concepts and theories first developed within the canon of critical work within modern European philosophy. The module, therefore, will explore contemporary debates with reference to this philosophical background to assess the ways in which the critical tradition can inform the debates as well as considering the ways in which the contemporary debates can help redefine what we understand by the critical tradition.


Contact hours

Private Study: 128
Contact Hours: 22
Total: 150


Optional to all courses owned by Politics and International Relations.

Available as an elective module.

Method of assessment

Portfolio 1,000 words 20%
Essay 4,000 words 80%

Reassessment methods: 100% coursework

Indicative reading

The University is committed to ensuring that core reading materials are in accessible electronic format in line with the Kent Inclusive Practices.

The most up to date reading list for each module can be found on the university's reading list pages.

Learning outcomes

The intended subject specific learning outcomes. On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

8.1 demonstrate systematic understanding of contemporary identity politics

8.2 Accurately interpret some of the key texts in modern and contemporary critical theory;

8.3 Devise and sustain debates about identity, difference and judgement in their own words in a coherent manner;

8.4 Critically evaluate different perspectives in modern and contemporary identity politics and have the ability to situate them vis-à-vis one another;

8.5 Analyse the challenges contemporary theories of identity pose to mainstream theories of politics;

8.6 Evaluate the relationship between identity-oriented theories and developments within practical politics.

The intended generic learning outcomes. On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

9.1 gather, organize and deploy evidence, data and information from a variety of secondary and some primary sources.

9.2 identify, investigate, analyse, formulate and advocate solutions to problems.

9.3 have developed concepts at the forefront of analytical reasoning, and the assembly of well-structured, balanced and reasoned arguments

9.4 reflect on and manage their own learning critically


  1. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  2. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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