Posts tagged ‘postmodernism’

09/30/2011

Never thought of myself as post-modern!

Our discussion about the nature of globalization was eye-opening in a couple of ways I didn’t expect.   Let’s talk a little bit about postmodernism to begin.  I’ve heard the term bandied about before but I never knew exactly what it meant. Thankfully, John Sinclair provided a clear and thorough description of postmodernism in his piece.  Sinclair said postmodern theory conceives of an individual subject as being  “composed not of one single and relatively constant identity but, rather, of multiple identities that become mobilized within different cultural discourses (74).”

In the case of my family, I think post-modern is a pretty apt description.  Both of my parents are from Nigeria, and they came to the U.S. for university.  I was born here…right here in Washington, DC in fact so I’m what some call a “first-generation” American.  I had the good fortune to live in Nigeria for a year when I was around 10-years old, but besides studying abroad for a semester, the rest of my time has been spent in this country.  Our discussion of globalization and nationalism over the past couple of weeks inspired some self-reflection….

The culture and traditions of the US very much inform who I am.  Nevertheless, my Nigerian heritage is also a significant part of what makes me who I am today, despite having spent only a fraction of my life there.  This feeling runs counter to the critics of globalization who worry about cultural imperialism.  Identity really isn’t a zero-sum game – my identifying strongly with my Nigerian heritage doesn’t make me feel any less American or vice-versa.  I assume my parents feel the same way.   They became naturalized U.S. citizens a long time ago, but I’m sure they don’t fee any less Nigerian.  They still speak the language (I don’t…unfortunately), cook the food, and occasionally make return-trips to see family.  So, I guess that makes us post-modern?  I am looking forward to telling my mother that she is post-modern – I’m sure she’ll get a kick out of it 🙂