Becoming the World Versus Identity Politics

  • Mieke Bal Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis (ASCA), University of Amsterdam
Emneord (Nøkkelord): Identity, Cultural citizenship, Borders, Internationalism, Framing, negotiable territory, poly-interpretability


Taking up some moments from the documentary film Becoming Vera, in this article I offer a plea for a cultural life "de-limited" by identity (Schimanski and Wolfe). Through the awaking cultural awareness of a three-year-old girl who negotiates borders established by education, linguistics, gender, and nationality, mostly by ignoring their relevance, I speculate that too exclusive or tenacious a focus on cultural, ethnic, racial, and other identities erects more boundaries than it levels. Secondarily, I contend that a messy mixture of identities not only enhances but in fact constitutes the vibrancy of cultural life. The film also shows the unavoidable framing of individuals - in this case, the framing of a child - that occurs simultaneously to their negotiation of borders. 


Mieke Bal, Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis (ASCA), University of Amsterdam
Mieke Bal, a cultural theorist and critic, is a Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences Professor (KNAW). She is based at the Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis (ASCA), University of Amsterdam. Her areas of interest range from biblical and Classical antiquity to 17th century and contemporary art and modern literature, feminism and migratory culture. Her many books include A Mieke Bal Reader (2006), Travelling Concepts in the Humanities (2002) and Narratology (third edition 2009).
Hvordan referere
Bal, Mieke. 2009. «Becoming the World Versus Identity Politics». Nordlit 13 (1), 9-30.