Greetings to all OICD members and mailing list subscribers, and a warm welcome to new subscribers and members.

This edition of the OICD newsletter is brought to you on our brand spanking new blog. As well as bringing you up to date on the latest developments within the OICD, we’ll be taking a look back at some of the ideas presented in our newsletters and articles from the past year. We hope that the added comment section will allow OICD members to take these ideas further and make for some interesting discussions and conversations.

Where Identities Draw Lines


How do we answer the question, ‘where are you from’? For many of us, the context in which we are being asked might alter the way we express our identities. In some situations, we may refer to our country of birth as our place of origin, and in others we might refer to descent, where our ancestors are from. We are able to pick and choose which parts of our identities we would like to express, depending on who we are with, how we are feeling, and what we want to show others about ourselves. Drawing the line, then, is important. It is the drawing of the line in our histories that determine the kinds of identities that are expressed in the moment. The lines we draw can teach us a lot about how the identities we are expressing or observing are built and constructed. Where in your history do you draw lines?

Read the full article here.

Imagining Lebanon from Japan


Intern Dany Tsuruta reflects on his secular upbringing in Lebanon, and the importance of religious diversity. In what ways do we imagine or feel a sense of national community? In contrast to Japan, Tsuruta feels that religious diversity in Lebanon creates conflicts and divisions, but feels that a unified national community is achieved through art, food and other cultural activities.

Read the full article here.

Conflict Caused by Identity


What percentage of all conflict is caused by identity? Can identity or cultural factors even be separated from any other form of conflict? According to the information listed by the UN, Bruce White has estimated the percentage of identity-based conflict at around 60%. As for the other 40%, identity still plays an important role at some stages of these conflicts. Addressing identity factors then, is important in conflict transformation work. The graph attached shows how identity factors compare to non-identity factors in how they influence each category of conflict causes.

Read the full article here.

Expanding Senses of Identity: Cultural Myths


How do we understand our own identities? Some cultural narratives narrow the way that racial and cultural identity is created and felt, because they are based on cultural myths. One such myth is the idea that culture is based on race and ethnicity, because it is confined and passed down to people of the same geographical community. In reality, culture is fluid and always changing, particularly between generations. Another common cultural myth is the idea that human difference is best understood by sorting people into culture categories. However, understanding people through an assigned culture obscures the internal diversity of cultural groups, and overlooks the fact that each individual within any culture has their own complex set of characteristics.

Read the full article here.

News and Updates

It has been a busy few months here at the OICD. With the winter fading here at Kyoto HQ, lots of exciting new projects are set to take off in 2018.

Innovate Project

Our Innovate project group in Oxford is currently exploring new technological advances in semantic analysis to help us map identities. As part of the process, the team is finding organizations such as Edge Ryders who are themselves pushing the boundaries on how semantic maps are developed from ethnographic research. You can see some of Edge Ryder's previous work here.

The Innovate group is moving ahead with their mission to publish 2 of their final 4 papers - one on psychological anthropology theory and another on identity mapping, which are to be published in the Journal of Peace Research.

Disseminate project

The Disseminate project team are currently progressing to generate initial ideas on educational initiatives that they are working on, having completed a review of related external global projects. Stay tuned for more information on their progress!

Kyoto news: Interns and the White House/HQ

In Kyoto, a new OICD research and retreat centre is currently in its last stages of development. Far from the bustle of the city, this eco-house is set to become a hub of brainstorming, workshops and creativity (mindfulness anyone?). It has currently been nicknamed 'the White House' by interns Katja and Jasmine, however we are open to suggestions (please post them in the comments below)!

Katja and Jasmine have both been working hard to update the OICD website, as well as creating this wonderful newsletter you see before you.

From the Web

Our pick of articles and videos from the past fortnight. If you have any recommendations or suggestions, share it with us on Facebook or tweet us!

1) A fascinating article that explores identity politics in the US today:

2) An interview with Ryan Coogler on Black identity in the new film Black Panther (which we highly recommend you go and see!!)

3) This aesthetically-pleasing video summarises and discusses national identity as a human construct.

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