The idea of the congress
In spite of the hopes placed, for example, in the development of electronic media that were supposed to promote community action and strengthen democracy, contemporary life has proved to be a time of deepening disproportions and divisions. The Congress theme, THE CULTURE OF SOLIDARITY in the educational sphere, is an expression of the increasing anxiety that in the constantly occurring process of division we shall lose what unites us, regardless of all the specific elements of identity (individual, social, regional, national). But if the idea of human community is not to have a mechanical, administrative character or to be imposed by authoritarian power of one kind or another, it needs in our view to correspond with a considered idea of solidarity that goes beyond the various so-called tribal interests. It needs to be put into practice not so much by declaration (especially political declaration), as in the sphere of language and literature teaching, from school to university.
Solidarity has always been and will remain the greatest possible challenge to human beings, but also their greatest gift. We cannot do without solidarity. For testimony to this, we need only think of the current epidemiological situation and its consequences, including educational ones. But we need solidarity not only in times of danger, but also in the conscientious, everyday work of education. For by this means we can go beyond known patterns of existence and create new ones, so contributing to life in a better world.
The following issues are suggested as a focus for the conference discussions.
I In search of a FIRST (i.e. common) language
What chance do we have in the broadly understood educational sphere to find a common language, an elementary language of communication? We invite reflections on:
- parallel, separate, antagonistic, mutually exclusive worlds on various levels of social, cultural and national life, as well as on the question of how much exclusion is real, and how much artificial, the result of a concentration on difference and a failure to notice what unites us in spite of all;
- levels of participation in culture;
- the place of Native/National Language and Literature on the map of academic disciplines, especially in view of the development of detailed knowledge in the natural and pure sciences;
- education in Native/National Language and Literature in relation to social conditions, the influence of social media, the internet and so on;
- What kind of community do we need? How can we identify the limits of community thinking, so as to prevent it from turning into an authoritarian drive to uniformity? How are these needs and dangers linked with the teaching of Language, Literature and Culture (the problem of the relation between freedom, individuality and identity on the one hand, and community thinking and solidarity on the other);
- School/University as a space of dialogue and a space of disagreement (inter alia, what is dialogue, does it contain within itself the potential for disagreement, what role in dialogue/disagreement is played on the one hand by listening skills or their lack, and on the other by self-definition?);
- Paradigms in Native/National Language, Literature and Culture teaching in relation to models of community;
- The place of the Humanities at academic and school level in a world that is constantly changing;
- Online education and the idea of solidarity.
II Against exclusions: WINDOWS and DOORS between separate worlds
- Forms and ways of limiting or opening up worlds that are separate or exclude others for social, cultural, linguistic, economic or religious reasons, or reasons of worldview;
- The place of solidarity in relation to the problem of the “familiar-foreign” opposition in the cultural-linguistic sphere;
- Teaching of National/Native Language in relation to teaching of modern languages: shared areas, including the role and function of translations as a form of opening up to otherness;
- The ethical and political dimension of education in native language and literature, its emancipative potential, including reflection on such issues as:
- Literature – set reading – politics,
- Languages of violence and exclusion, and languages that build community in education,
- Postcolonialism in language and literature education
- The local and the universal,
- Non-normativity in language and literature education (acceptance of difference, fear of difference),
- School and democracy.
III SOLIDARITY AS THE HUMAN “TO BE OR NOT TO BE”
- Solidarity as an over-riding value that is constantly exposed to overt and covert hindrances of various kinds: political, market, psychological, media, sociological, related to worldview, and so on;
- Solidarity as a gift that is easily declared, but rejected in the practice of social life; what can be done about this kind of hypocrisy in the practice of teaching/education on its various levels?;
- The place of solidarity in the world of fundamental values (the relation between solidarity and freedom; tolerance and democracy);
- Solidarity and the university/school in the day of neoliberalism;
- Post-anthropocentric/posthumanist solidarity? (education and attention to the non-human world, the building of community in a time of ecological crisis).