Learning to Say “We”: Writing Identity
July 3, 2023 @ 2:00 pm - 3:30 pm EDT
An event every week that begins at 2:00 pm on Monday, repeating until July 13, 2023
We often talk about identity as though it were something we have always been and absolutely are. But identity is not fixed: it is a way of understanding ourselves that relates us to others. Identities can be temporary as name-tags and enduring as monuments; singular as snowflakes and (think of Whitman’s “Song of Myself”) encompassing as oceans. We can think of our identities as a collage, or pointillist painting, or an ongoing story, or as the intersection of the histories that led to us and the social systems that surround us. American Jews, in particular, have no choice but to navigate multiple ways of identifying ourselves—as Jews, as Americans, as members of a racially stratified society, as targets and beneficiaries of oppression, as inheritors of and rebels against millennia of Jewish cultures and traditions. In this immersion, we will reflect and expand on our personal experiences of identity, using writing exercises and in-depth discussions to think about, challenge, discover, explore, and experiment with different ways to identify ourselves, to consider how those ways connect us to and separate us from others, and how they represent and misrepresent aspects of who we are.
Joy Ladin is the author of twelve books, including the National Jewish Book Award–winning revised second edition of The Book of Anna (EOAGH, 2021); The Soul of the Stranger: Reading God and Torah from a Transgender Perspective (Brandeis UP), a finalist for both a Lambda Literary Award and Triangle Award; Through the Door of Life: A Jewish Journey between Genders, a finalist for a National Jewish Book Award and winner of a Forward Fives Award; and ten books of poetry, including Shekhinah Speaks; Fireworks in the Graveyard (Headmistress Press); Psalms; Forward Fives–award winner Coming to Life; and two Lambda Literary Award finalists, Transmigration and Impersonation. She has been awarded a National Endowment for the Arts writing fellowship, a Fulbright Scholarship, an American Council of Learned Societies Research Fellowship, and two Hadassah Brandeis Institute Research fellowships, among other honors. She holds a Ph.D. in American Literature from Princeton University, an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from the University of Massachusetts (Amherst), and a B.A. from Sarah Lawrence College.
All sessions will be recorded and sent to participants. We encourage live attendance for you to get the most out of the experience.