Defined as “a cross between two separate races, plants or cultures,” the term “hybridity” has become even more significant in the contexts of cultural and postcolonial studies. The possibility of establishing/dismantling paradigms and social conjectures based on mixtures and interchanges between cultures has sparked the interest of scholars, who have developed different theories to explain how hybridity occurs, what it entails and what its consequences are. One of the main scholars in the field of cultural studies is the American choreographer Ralph Lemon, who argued that cultural categories are “unstable, fluid, or porous.” And this lack of established, rigid, or unpenetrable structure is what allows for different means of combining different cultures.
Nonetheless, simply defining “hybridity” as combining cultures does not really explain what this keyword entails in the context of the readings. Hence, as a basis for furthering understanding, it is relevant to explain why understanding cultural hybridity is necessary, or at least important. Based on the readings, Profeta claims that “Ralph’s examinations of racial and cultural allegiances always hit up against how our conceptions of identity are at once deeply meaningful and deeply inadequate, and instances of hybridity served well to underline both instances” (171). In this context, the existence of hybridity within the context of identity formation and conceptualizations serves as a platform that emphasizes our tendency to “deeply” over-complicate or over-simplify an individual’s identity. I would argue that, in most times, there is a tendency to over-simplify identities due to our inability to comprehend hybrids of multiple identities, and how they can be intertwined, hence complementing (or even contradicting) other identities that are still part of the individual. By comprehending the interplay between hybridity and identity, one becomes then able to understand how identities are fluid and always changing, merging, mixing, and replacing.
The lack of understanding of how identities can be fluid has led to many problems throughout history, and this is why the word hybridity is so useful and interesting to me. I came to this realization after reading the book In The Name of Identity: Violence and The Need to Belong, written by Amin Maalouf. Throughout his book, he argues that the very superficial way we perceive identity has led to persecutions, conflicts, wars and genocides. Therefore, I think that enhancing the understanding of what hybridity means in the context of identity is crucial so that people are able to better comprehend how complex identities are and, hence, become more tolerant towards ‘the other.’
Works CitedHybridity "Revolvy." Accessed 8 Jan 2018. https://www.revolvy.com/main/index.php?s=Hybridity. Profeta, Katherine. "Interculturalism" Dramaturgy in Motion: At Work on Dance and Movement Performance. 168-209. USA: The University of Wisconsin, 2015.