The identity and politics workgroup is a multidisciplinary and open forum where researchers from fields in the social and natural sciences as well as humanities meet to discuss ongoing work and its significance for how we think of who people are at different scales - from the cellular to the complex society level.
The workgroup meets at lunch for 1 hour to hear about colleagues' work and to engage in dialogue. No formal presentation is required. Speakers present on some aspect of their work and questions quickly follow. Meetings are highly interactive and privilege substantive rather than technical discussion (although the latter are sometimes unavoidable). The goal is to convey key elements of one's work to an audience of academic non-experts but who have an interest in identity broadly conceived. Works in progress or even research designs are welcomed.
The identity and politics work group emerged from a conversation between social scientists (Kanchan Chandra, Politics, and David Cook-Martín, Sociology) and natural scientists (Youseff, Stephane, Giorgio, Kristen) about how their respective disciplines understand identity and with what implications.
In spring 2018, Chandra and Cook-Martín organized an informal lunch to gauge broader interest in a venue to have conversations about identity and politics. Faculty members, postdocs and instructors all responded enthusiastically. A schedule of meetings emerged quickly and the first identity politics lunch happened on March 22, 2018.
Academic year 2018-2019 is the first full year of programming for the identity politics workgroup. Attendance is among the highest for any event in the social sciences division. In addition to good food and camaraderie participants have animated discussions. Works in progress receive useful feedback. Collaborations happen.
Most recently, key participants in the workshop have been working on a NYUAD center proposal to launch an initiative at the intersection of the social sciences, natural sciences, and humanities. The Genetics and Society initiative is in full development. Stay tuned for more information.