The Power of Words: call to workshop

The Power of Words in Intercultural Encounters

International Workshop, Iași, April 27-28

Last year’s workshop approached the role of intercultural encounters in the contemporary world and in rediscovering what it means to be human by discussing the complex role played by artefacts in producing or facilitating such encounters. The workshop this year aims to explore the role of words in the dynamics of intercultural encounters.

Intercultural encounters are complex events involving what it means to be human in its entirety, including our perceptions, interpretations and representations, as shaped by and expressed in our languages. It is within and through language that we formulate the encounter with the cultural other, and on such occasions language can function as a bridge or a barrier. Words, as projections of a culture within its own horizon, are powerful instruments with multiple facets and the extent to which the meaning(s) of certain words can reach beyond that horizon determines the dimensions of intercultural encounters. Words can commnicate more or less, increase or eliminate distance, enhance or reduce difference. Cultures usually seek to translate themselves for the other to understand and tend to identify with certain words that remain untranslatable. Hence the power of words in intercultural encounters derives from their their potential to express and create shared meaning.

This workshop proposes an investigation from different, intercultural and interdisciplinary, perspectives of scenarios where words reveal their power in facilitating or hindering intercultural encounters. It aims to evaluate how encounters in and through words can contribute to our re-learning to be human for global times and possibly for a global language.

The workshop will consist of a series of discussions and case studies, to be announced. Please send in your expression of interest by April 20.

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