Spencer Museum of Art The University of Kansas


  • The Birth Certificate: Shaping Identity in an Age of Documentation, with William Staples, KU Professor of Sociology
  • Discussion
  • 9/4/2012
  • 12:00-13:00
  • Spooner Hall
  • Host: The Commons
Event Description
A birth certificate is a credential that is often taken for granted until it is required. It serves as proof of one's age or citizenship; and it is a requirement in order to be adopted, to go to school, to get a driver's license or a passport, to marry, to inherit property, and to be elected to office. But in helping us prove who we are, this document also helps define who we are; it has been involved, at various times and places, in the social construction of our sex, race/ethnicity, nationality, and parental lineage. This discussion will explore the production of identification as a method of governing and the formation of identity as a byproduct of such governance.

The Idea Café is intended to elicit energetic exchanges between attendees in response to the speaker's introduction. Lunch is provided. RSVP by August 27: Emily Ryan, thecommons@ku.edu. Limit 40 guests.