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AFAM/COMM 370: Communication and Diversity : First Assignment

This course guide is intended as a starting point for research assignments in AFAM/Comm 370.
"Diversity includes attention to identity characteristics such as age, disability, sex, race, ethnicity, religion/spiritual tradition, gender identity and expression, sexual identity, veteran status, job status or socioeconomic class, nation of origin, language spoken, documentation status, personal appearance and political beliefs."

Source:Threshold 2022: Cultivating a Culture of Inclusive Excellence

Diversity and My American Identity

Assignment Highlights

Write about the formation of your identity as an “American” or within America as this identity is shaped and influenced by the social structures of race, class, and gender as they are deployed in the United States.

Incorporate into your essay the writings of others who interrogate the formation of their own identity formed or de-formed by social forces in the society.


  • Five pages
  • Minimum of five sources; may all be from required texts an can also include outside sources
  • Use MLA Style, Chicago Style, or APA Style when citing sources. Check the citation tools guide for more information.

Note: Always check Canvas for more details about the assignment.

Start with a Concept Map

Source: “Novak, J. D. & A. J. Cañas, The Theory Underlying Concept Maps and How to Construct and Use Them, Technical Report IHMC CmapTools 2006-01 Rev 01-2008, Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition, 2008, available at:

Tell Stories

Think about specific moments in your life that shaped your identity.

  • Focus on a moment of enlightenment: an event that helped you see some truth about yourself, your family, or the world for the first time
  • Focus on a moment of confrontation with the unknown or with people or situations that tested your values or challenged your identity in some way
  • Focus on a situation where you found yourself included in or excluded from a particular group or community
  • Focus on a moment of conflict between your own experience and conventional wisdom: doing something that couldn’t be done, failing or struggling with something described as easy, finding value in something rejected by society, etc.

As you recall these moments, reflect on:

  • What happened
  • Who was involved
  • When it happened
  • Where it happened
  • Why is it important

Background Sources: Sage Reference

Sage provides online Encyclopedias, Handbooks and Dictionaries that cover topics in the Social Sciences. It is a good starting point for research as it includes several works that are relevant for this assignment, including: Encyclopedia of Identity, American Masculinities, Encyclopedia of Sex and Gender, Sage Encyclopedia of LGBTQ Studies

Examples of articles you'll find in Sage Reference:

  • Identity
  • White Racial Identity
  • White Privilege
  • Heterosexual Privilege
  • Male Privilege
  • White/European Americans and Gender
  • Asian American Identity
  • Multiracial
  • Immigrants
  • Families
  • Class Identity

Background Sources: Gale Virtual Reference

EBSCO Article Search

More Article Databases

Search Primo

Use Primo to find resources on your topic at Collins Library and beyond. Request books held by Summit libraries for delivery to Collins Library within 5-7 business days. The library also has a number of ebook collections. Some, but not all, of the books in the ebook collections can be searched in Primo.

Some suggested search terms to find books about identity:

  • Whites and racial identity
  • African Americans and race identity
  • Hispanic Americans and ethnic identity
  • Asian Americans and ethnic identity
  • Jews and Identity
  • European Americans and identity
  • Mexican Americans
  • United States Emigration and Immigration History
  • Racially mixed people
  • Gender identity
  • Sexual identity
  • Bisexuals
  • Transgender
  • Masculinity
  • Women United States
  • Gays and identity
  • Lesbians and identity
  • Identity (Psychology)
  • Group identity
  • Upper Class United States
  • Wealth
  • Middle Class
  • Working Class
  • Poor
  • Single Mothers

To find books in our collection, check the call number location chart.

Examples of Books about Identity


Angela Weaver's picture
Angela Weaver
Collins Library 131