FACULTY SPOTLIGHT SERIES TEXAS WOMAN’S UNIVERSITY COLLEGE OF ARTS AND SCIENCES Social Identity: What’s Race Got To Do With It? When: Tues., Feb. 17, 2009, 12:25-12:55 Where: Stoddard Hall 308 Who: Dr. Kenneth Foster, Dept. of Psychology and Philosophy Description of the session. Social identity is a medium through which people perceive how much their group is similar to or different from other groups. Social identity theory focuses on “those aspects of an individual’s self-image that derive from the social categories to which [they perceive themselves] as belonging.” As our world becomes increasingly globalized, it becomes increasingly evident that social identity is integral to issues such as politics, inequality, individualism, and subjective well-being. As a social psychologist, I am interested in the role or impact of social identity dynamics on an individual’s self-esteem, spirituality, political involvement, and overall health profile. Racial identity is used in my research as a social identity case in point. On the one hand, racial identity provides a useful context for understanding how people navigate their social world. On the other hand, many individuals consider racial identity to be little more than a ‘social label’ with dubious utility. In spite of considerable progress, there remains a paucity of empirical data on the relationships between racial identity orientations and the boundless repertoire of human behaviors and attitudes. The implications for work in areas such as mental health practices, leadership, and the hotly contested paradigms of multiculturalism and diversity, in particular, are discussed. Description of the series: Sponsored by the College of Arts and Sciences, this lunchtime (“brown bag”) series of presentations features ongoing research, scholarship, and creative efforts by faculty members in the College. The purpose of the series is to further promote those activities at TWU and to foster collegial and interdisciplinary relations among faculty members across the College and the University. Although the presentations are by faculty members in the College, anyone interested in the sessions is welcome. Presentation proposals are reviewed by an advisory committee consisting of representation from all the major areas of the College. Future sessions: Feb. 25, Dr. Rohrer on teaching about race; March 3, Dr. Singh on the consumer purchase decision process; March 11, Dr. Omary on custom-made molecules. For further information: To contact the presenter: KFoster@twu.edu; for information about the series: SSouris@twu.edu.