‘I wish color had no history’: an exploration of identity through student performance poetry

Brynja Elísabeth Halldórsdóttir Gudjonsson*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article focuses on multiracial student experiences using co-created ethnographic data with two students’ spoken word poetry. The students considered their own history, their origins and discovered a complexity–and found that their struggle was not exclusively internal. External expectations of singular categorizations and social understanding of behavior played a role in students’ identity construction. The students exhibited an internalization of expectations, as they reflected on their developing identities in their writing. They also indicated that they found ways to resist the expectations and forms of power. The results further discussions related to the modern understanding of identity fluidity and raises the question of why identity, in the modern context, continues to be seen as fixed. The research enabled students to reflect on the complex nature of identity and present a nuanced picture of their unique identity struggles, and their awareness of the social constructs and expectations of others.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)322-339
Number of pages18
JournalEthnography and Education
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 3 Jul 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.

Other keywords

  • adolescent identity formation
  • hybridity
  • multiracial identity
  • Social expectations


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