Vaia Touna [+]
University of Alabama
Strategic Acts in the Study of Identity is a multi-authored work that tackles the problem of how to examine the historicity of identity. Six scholars of religion, all members of the Culture on the Edge group, engage in a constructive dialogue mediating and critically cross-examining issues of identity formation, suggesting ways of achieving greater theoretical clarity in the study of identity—or better, identity claims—as it takes shape over time and space. The volume is divided into three sites, or what we might call three situations, each of which is representative of a specific act, such as for example, the strategic acts of classification, appropriation, and comparison. Each site then consists of a main chapter, a response from another scholar (who presses further the point of the main chapter while inviting its author to reflect upon their initial argument) and a reply from the author of the main chapter. Additionally, the volume includes an appendix with a series of posts that originally appeared at the blog for Culture on the Edge. These theoretically challenging posts, also investigating the volume’s three main areas, further exemplify and model a different way of approach in the study of identity. Although Strategic Acts in the Study of Identity is not a textbook, and while challenging for any reader, it can serve as a great pedagogical tool for professors who wish to use the book in their classes not only within religious studies but in any class that touches on issues of identity.