Ebelechukwu Veronica Eseka

β€œI am?”: Dilemma of Adopting White-Sounding Names

Mentor: Beth Saur

Proposed Project

A person’s name is one of the most personal aspects of their identity. However sometimes they are compelled to change their name due to many reasons. This project is going to analyze the process immigrants and international students undergo when they are compelled to change their names for the purpose of cultural assimilation. By conducting an intercultural comparison among UCSB students, I hope to analyze the different factors that contribute to name changes and the effects name changes have on the individual. Do people feel like a piece of them is taken away when they change their names? Or Did they change their preferred name because they cringe a little when someone mispronounces their names? These are examples of the questions I am going to explore. The final project is most likely going to be a traditional research paper or a zine that incorporates the surveys and interviews conducted and a narrative of my personal experience as an immigrant who was compelled to change their name due to cultural assimilation as well.

Final Project

I am ?: Dilemma of Adopting White-Sounding Names, ​​is a zine that showcases an intercultural comparison of UCSB students who identify as immigrants and international students sharing their experience of adapting or thinking of adapting white sounding names in order to culturally assimilate. This zine historicizes the role of colonialism in centering Anglo-names as the norm, pressuring other racial and ethnic communities to consciously and subconsciously alter their cultural identities to follow suit.

Here’s a one-page PDF that will be part of the zine I create.