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.

December’s gift

The map below illustrates the global network of RVP Iasi Center, built in the development of the project Re-Learning to Be Human for Global Times: The Role of Intercultural Encounters.

The intercultural encounters engendered by the project this year, both in the online environment and in several offline meetings and events, are part of a rewarding process of mutual discovery. By bringing diverse people together in free dialogue, the project is reshaping the world(s) we live in through reflection and action.

May we learn further!Create a map _ Mapcustomizer_Page_3

 

November’s promise: a fisher of men

Today’s Saint Andrew celebration brings forth a meditation on the unifying message of religion and spirituality. The founder and first bishop of the church of Byzantium, Andrew is the patron of several cities and countries, including Romania.

In Romania, the Christian holiday of St. Andrew overlaps a traditional celebration associated with wolves and winter, when it is believed that animals can speak and the sky opens at midnight.

This is one example of syncretism leading to a popular contemporary holiday that blends in ancient beliefs and practices. More such examples and comments are invited.

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.

July’s trip: a Chinese story

What is a journey without a tale? Whether we take a package tour or venture off the beaten track, to a nearby location or in a distant foreign country, we return with a story to tell. Travellers are storytellers by default, making up their own tale on the way.

What could be the story behind the photos below?

 

One possible story: A country that rewrites itself every 5 years. Can you imagine returning every few years to a city that is periodically erased and rebuilt from the ground up? What remains of it?

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Call for contributions to workshop

Artifacts in Intercultural Encounters

Project Workshop, Iași, June 30-July 1

As part of our investigation into how intercultural encounters have been shaping the global world and may contribute to re-learning to be human for present and future times,  this workshop will focus on artifacts and their role in the meetings between cultures. Artifacts are understood here as any objects, handmade or mass produced, that reflect a society or culture.

Culture, as an assembly of customs and habits regulating the behaviour and relations of a group of invididuals, materializes in objects; such objects may be works produced and displayed to illustrate a set of civic, artistic or spiritual values, or they may be goods manufactured with the local resources and skills. Be they traditional or modern, functional or decorative, religious or mundane, these objects re-present the culture to itself and to others.

Over time, cultures have communicated through the exchange and trade of such characteristic artifacts. In fact, the farther such objects came from, the more value they carried. That is because, beyond  their material worth, the foreign items we buy and sell, from the spices of ancient times to the gadgets of present day, also carry a historical, social and cultural value.

On this background, the workshop aims to explore the role of artifacts as vehicles of culture and mediators or intercultural encounters.  We are equally interested in approaching  traditional and modern artifacts, from any cultural area, with a focus on their value in contemporary times.

To this aim, we invite all project members to submit contributions in the form of:

1) papers, 5-7 pages, to be presented in person during paper sessions

or

2) posters, size A4 or larger, to be presented in person or displayed during poster sessions

or

3) image and voice recordings, 10-20 minutes, to be presented in person or shown during video sessions

Participants coming to Iasi are also invited to bring, where possible, an artifact they consider relevant for a workshop exhibition.

Please send an email specifying the type and title of your contribution by June 1 to roleofinterculturalencounters@gmail.com and dan811@yahoo.com. Contributions should be submitted by June 15 at roleofinterculturalencounters@gmail.com  and dan811@yahoo.com.