4609360: CF_"What is Identity?"

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Semester:WS 18/19
Scheduled in semester:1-6
Semester Hours per Week / Contact Hours:28.0 L / 21.0 h
Self-directed study time:69.0 h

Module coordination/Lecturers


Bachelor's degree programme in Business Administration (01.09.2012)
Master's degree programme in Architecture (01.09.2014)
Bachelor's degree programme in Architecture (01.09.2014)
Master's degree programme in Information Systems (01.09.2015)
Master's degree programme in Finance (01.09.2015)
Master's degree programme in Entrepreneurship (01.09.2015)
Master's degree programme in Entrepreneurship and Management (01.09.2018)


What influence has people's identity on how they are leading their everyday lives? How they relate to others by feeling either close to or distant from them? What consumption practices they engage in? How people arrange the physical space around them? What they perceive to be their place in the world? The course starts out from the observation that, over the last decades, identity has become one of the most central categories in social life - for example, by motivating people to engage in specific types of action, giving rise to wars in identity's name, and serving for processes of social inclusion and exclusion. Yet, identity is also an elusive and highly contested category. Identities are not fixed and stable but are socially constructed and transforming over time, thus making it difficult, if not impossible, to determine who someone 'really' is. Also, in many cases, there are tensions between what identity a group of actors claims to have and what identity they are ascribed to by outsiders. Claims about identity therefore often take the form of controversial 'identity politics'. All of these issues make pertinent the vexing question at the centre of this course: What do we mean when we talk about 'identity'?

Learning Outcomes

  • In-depth knowledge about the topics and theories discussed in the course
  • Capacity to interpret research findings in the light of different theoretical perspectives
  • Skills in engaging in academic discussions
  • Skills in developing scientific lines of argumentation
  • Training in giving oral presentations during class
  • Skills in writing academic texts (mid-term essays)


Lectures Method

Lecture elements in combination with student presentations and text-based discussions within class


Hall, Stuart 1992. The Question of Identity. In Modernity and Its Futures: Understanding Modern Societies,
edited by Hall, Stuart, David Held & Tony McGrew. Cambridge: Polity, 274-280.

Required reading will be announced in the beginning of the semester term.

Exam Modalities

Part A: Participation in discussions and in one group presentation (50%)
Part B: Mid-term essay of 1000 words (50%)

Compulsory attendance (min. 80%)


Passed / Failed

  • Course based on continuous assessment, details see under "assessment".
  • Meeting attendance obligations and active participation are an essential pre-requisite for successfully completing a course based on continuous assessment.
  • Attendance must be proven for at least 80% of the stipulated contact time. Responsibility for checking and providing written proof of this obligatory attendance lies with the course lecturer who is required to store this information at least until the end of the semester.
  • In the case of absenteeism that exceeds the specified limits of absence, a medical certificate is required. Responsibility lies with the head of the Coordination Office for Cross-Faculty Elective Subjects to approve the reason for the student's failure to attend.
  • Participation in other activities of the university are not recognized as an excused absence.


Cross-faculty elective subject:
Notice the special Multi-stage allocation process.


  • P-FU_"What is Identity?" (WS 18/19, in Planung)