Identity—what makes each of us unique—our background, our race, our gender, our tribal affiliations, our religion (lack of religion) all go into making each person what he or she is. However, this notion of a singular identity has too often given rise to heated passions and even massive crimes. Amin Maalouf examines belonging and self-conception within the context of the modern world, and contends many people would reject the concept of their inherited identity if only they examined it more closely. Maalouf, an eminent novelist, born in Lebanon now residing in Paris, speaks from his own experience since his identity was shaped by a paradox for the Western world: He is a Christian whose mother tongue is Arabic.
This edition of In the Name of Identity (translated from the French by Barbara Bray) is part of Hewitt’s Lightning Literature & Composition curriculum. From our Guide by Brenda S. Cox:
In the Name of Identity investigates the question of how people find their identity and their sense of belonging in the world. Amin Maalouf believes that basing identity on only one factor, out of many possibilities, can lead to violence and conflict in the world. He encourages us to recognize various aspects of our identity in order to feel a kinship with others in the world, rather than separating ourselves from one another.