In this fascinating interdisciplinary study, Suman Gupta argues that while it is widely accepted that essentialist ideas of identity are politically dangerous, certain social constructionist accounts of identity have now come to enjoy extraordinary currency. The latter are often regarded as central to contemporary political occurrences and social/cultural arrangements, particularly in academic institutions. This book explores why these ideas can be problematic, paying attention to both theoretical debates and institutional practices.
Gupta first of all examines the conceptual aspect of social constructionist identity politics with regard to the humanities in general, and then considers the role of such politics in literary studies. His book constitutes a timely intervention in the current debate about the future of the humanities.