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.

Call for contributions to project volume

A fundamental part of the RVP Iasi project is to investigate the dynamics and significance of intercultural encounters and their role in our re-learning to be human. 

Considering the global scope of the project members, we are planning a special volume to emphasize and  provide a perspective on the diversity of opinions and experiences.

The investigation will start from a series of questions on the preparation, development and results of intercultural encounters, which the project members are invited to answer.

The questions and answers will make up a volume intended to provide a dialogic overview of our intercultural experiences, to be published in 2018.

First series of questions:

1.         What does it mean to be prepared for an intercultural encounter?

2.         How would you define a cultural border? What intercultural barriers have you encountered?

3.         Which are the space and time coordinates of intercultural encounters? How does the place (one’s own, neutral or virtual) and the time (moment, length) influence the development of such encounters?

4.         What can an intercultural encounter produce? What are its effects, from your experience?

5.         How do intercultural encounters change the understanding of one’s own culture? Did they affect your view of what it means to be human?

6.         What do you expect from intercultural encounters? What did you learn?

CRVP International Conference in Iasi

Join CRVP’s International Conference organised in Iasi, Romania by the RVP Center at  Alexandru Ioan Cuza University on October 27-28, 2017 under the title:

Re-Learning to Be Human for Global Times:

How Intercultural Encounters (Re)Shape the Contemporary World

As intercultural encounters both home and abroad have become a common event, they bring together individuals and communities, leading to a confrontation of cultural differences and humane similarities. Beyond their challenges, such interactions may generate a new awareness of the other and of the self and an enhanced understanding of what it means to be human.

This conference proposes to investigate the different forms and effects of intercultural encounters, both real and virtual, and to discuss how they shape the contemporary world and their possible impact on re-learning to be human. It aims to find out whether intercultural encounters could produce new forms of communication and revise cultural definitions.

Abstracts can still be submitted by mid-October. More details about the conference are available here on CRVP’s website.