Scholars in a wide range of disciplines, working from a variety of perspectives, are now engaged with questions surrounding what might be called the "politics of identity": the status and consequences of various attempts to develop or define ethnic, gender, national, and racial identities. Scholars in African-American and Ethnic Studies, in Feminist and in Gay and Lesbian Studies; scholars working in cultural and literary studies on the issue of postcoloniality, and in area studies on questions of nationality and ethnicity in the so-called Second and Third worlds-all have become increasingly concerned with similarities between, and differences among, the modes of identity-formation in these various arenas and their interactions with each other.
What relations are possible between the positing or production of identities and critiques of essentialism? How do the urgencies of emancipatory politics fit or co111flict with psychoanalytic and poststructuralist critiques of the Cartesian subject? How do the articulation and exploration of difference sit with the concern for identities in diverse theoretical and practical contexts? We have in mind such discourses as those concerning the intersection of race and class with gender in Feminist Studies, nation and ethnicity in area studies, the postcoloniality of Third World literatures, and race and sexuality in Gay and Lesbian Studies. The Society for the Humanities invites applicants from all disciplinary backgrounds in the humanities and interpretative social sciences whose work on these issues would benefit from and contribute to an interdisciplinary environment.