Who Are You? I’m Vaia and Touna

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Who Are You?” is an ongoing series that asks members of Culture on the Edge to reflect on one of their own many identities (whether national, gendered, racial, familial, etc.), theorizing at the same time the self-identification that they each chose to discuss.

Who we are comes with a name and mine is Vaia, or better said, Vaia Touna. It’s interesting that the name that we come to think that is so much part of who we are was chosen and given to us by others, most likely by our parents. Who we are and how we perceive ourselves is certainly socially constructed, that is, there is nothing inherent in the name we are given, for think about how much teaching and training was involved until we learned to respond to this specific name. Continue reading “Who Are You? I’m Vaia and Touna”

What’s in a Name?

mDelBarco-d3b0bd43c1615d79f7475b9e1c10b2bcacd6edc1-s6-c30National Public Radio in the U.S. has a well-known correspondent named Mandalit del Barco — recently (and humorously) voted the best name in public radio. Her name is so well known to NPR listeners that the guys at “Car Talk,” a call-in car repair show, parody it — among the many other fictitious people who staff their show — in their closing credits, thanking their “inventory manager, Mandalit del Barcode.”

But what I find interesting is how she says her own name and what it says about our commonsense view of language and identity. Continue reading “What’s in a Name?”