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Plea for a Mobile Identity


This lecture was originally delivered at the University of California, Berkeley, on December 4, 2008. It focuses on the conception of identity from both a Swiss and an international perspective, debating the conflict between personal, national and global identity on the basis of personal experiences. The focus is on variation and on the multiplicity of identities instead of uniqueness. As such, identity is not seen as fixation or as an orthodox uniform, but rather as a field of tension and a possibility of interaction with others.

Hugo Loetscher was born in Zurich in 1929. He worked as editor-in-chief of the political magazine Weltwoche and as literary editor of the journal du. He is known to be a talented speaker, and is a regular guest on Swiss television to debate Swiss and international politics. He has been a freelance writer since 1969, writing novels, plays, travelogues and essays. Loetscher’s works are often based on his travel experiences; he is considered to be the most cosmopolitan Swiss writer. He had several stays as writer-in-residence, e.g. 1979-80 at the University of Southern California and 1981-82 at the City University of New York. Loetscher was President of the Swiss Writers’ Association and the Swiss Foundation for Photography. In 1992 he received the most prominent Swiss literary prize for his oeuvre, the Grosser Schillerpreis.

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