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What's in a name?

Talk of Iowa, hosted by Charity Nebbe

The name we are given, the name we call ourselves and the names other people use to refer to us are powerful parts of our identity. Our names are shaped by culture, our relationships, our needs and our preferences. Many people go through a legal name change in their lifetimes, and even more of us go through unofficial name changes.

Recently the names that students choose to go by at school, if it’s different than their given name, has been a source of controversy. Iowa lawmakers have introduced a bill that would require parental notification if a student chooses to go by a name or pronouns that differ from those they use at home.

On this episode of Talk of Iowa — what’s in a name? Host Charity Nebbe speaks with an anthropologist about how names are shaped by culture and convention. Then three Iowans who have changed their names tell their stories, and an ISU ethnohistorian discusses the importance and power in changing place names.

Charity Nebbe is the host of IPR's Talk of Iowa
Caitlin Troutman is a talk show producer at Iowa Public Radio