Searching for the Sources of the Self

Linked with our presentation of Mahnaz Afkhami – Iran.
by Mahnaz Afkhami – In Sources of the Self: The Making of Modern Identity (Cambridge: Harvard University, 1989) Charles Taylor introduces the concept of identity as follows:

… the question is often spontaneously phrased by people in the form: Who am I? But this can’t necessarily be answered by giving name and genealogy. What does answer this question for us is an understanding of what is of crucial importance to us. To know who I am is a species of knowing where I stand. My identity is defined by the commitments and identifications which provide the frame or horizon within which I can try to determine from case to case what is good, or valuable, or what ought to be done, or what I endorse or oppose. In other words, it is the horizon within which I am capable of taking a stand.

It is about this horizon that I wish to speak – about exile and the problem of identity in exile … (see the rest of this very long text on barnard columbia.edu).

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