Creating a Culture of Encountering the Other, ETHER, University of Leeds, UK but Online, 6 April 2022, 9:30-15:30 (British summer time).
The theme centres on the notion of the ‘contact zone’… a space in which people with different biographies, understandings and social trajectories engage in everyday encounters. Linguistic ethnographers have generated detailed descriptions of communicative encounters that take place there. Artists and philosophers, on the other hand, have studied people’s emotional, imaginative and moral investment in such encounters. Organizers conceptualize these contact zones as metaphorical ‘unsafe spaces’ to highlight initial discomforts that encounters with difference are likely to produce. This seminar aims to explore ways in which such ‘disturbing encounters’ can be harnessed for the good. Participants will draw on insights from the previous two seminars and draw on experiences and questions of participants to map the transformative potential of these spaces across diverse layers of social activity. The seminar will engage participants with the ‘why’ and ‘how’ questions of enabling such encounters in public life.
ETHER (Ethics and Aesthetics of Encountering the Other), an international AHRC research network, is a research partnership of the University of Leeds, the University of Stirling, Opera North, and Leeds Museums and Galleries. ETHER asks: ‘How do people of conflicting worldviews, memories and future visions encounter each other?’
The Art of Seeing and Hearing the Other, 20-21 April 2021, ETHER, Leeds, UK (Online Seminar).
How we see and hear the other is often shaped through our attachment to ideas, images and ideologies about ourselves, others and the world. Language ideologies, for instance, delineate what counts as language and as legitimate ways of language use. They set boundaries inside which another is heard, encountered and judged (Inoue, 2003; Piller, 2016). This kind of meeting, however, precludes genuine contact because the listening/looking subject’s ideological preoccupations always put another in the position of an object (‘it’) to be comprehended, made sense of or assimilated. Anthropological philosophy, on the other hand, has entertained the possibility that an authentic encounter with difference can be achieved with a relational shift from ‘I-it’ to ‘I-Thou’ (Buber, 2013). The latter requires the subject’s pre-reflective way of being-in-the world which regards oneself and the other as whole human beings who cannot be reduced to cultural categories (Levinas, 1972). The seminar will examine how the two stances are negotiated in real-life encounters and identify theoretical principles for enabling authentic meetings across divides.
Ethics and Aesthetics of Encountering the Other: New Frameworks for Engaging with Difference (ETHER) is a global research network of members working across academic, arts and public sectors, based at the School of Education at the University of Leeds. ETHER asks asks: How do people of conflicting worldviews, memories and future visions encounter each other?
Call for proposals: Digital Provocations Series, Ethics & Aesthetics of Encountering the Other (ETHER): New Frameworks for Engaging with Difference. Deadline for abstract submission: 8 January 2021.
Organizers are inviting linguists working in areas including but not restricted to: linguistic anthropology, educational linguistics, sociology, multilingualism, multimodality, communication studies, language education, intercultural communication etc. to contribute to ETHER’s Digital Provocations Series. A digital provocation is a specific data-based example of linguistic inquiry which illustrates how ETHER’s core question speaks to your own research agenda, specifically responding to the theme of Seminar 1: The Art of Seeing and Hearing the Other. There are two ways to contribute:
1) A short (7-10 minutes) pre-recorded video presentation (e.g. in Zoom / Teams or a similar digital platform with which you are familiar) focusing on a relevant aspect of your research. The presentation should be aimed at a non-specialised interdisciplinary audience of international academics as well as users of academic research.
2) An original blog entry written specifically for ETHER which introduces your research in an accessible format to the above audiences. The blog should contain relevant examples of data.
The detailed call is available here.