Paola Giorgis teaches English Language, Literature and Visual Arts in Italian high schools and holds a PhD in Anthropology of Education and Intercultural Education.
She is co-founder and member of wom.an.ed – women’s studies in anthropology and education. Her main interest interest regards a critical and intercultural approach to Foreign Language Education, that is, how Foreign Language Education can be used to develop an awareness of different languages, representations and cultural conceptualizations able to favor intercultural communication. All through her teaching years, she has observed many episodes which confirm the capability of (foreign) language(s) to foreground many aspects connected both to personal and collective identities, dynamics and representations, displaying how learning and using a non-mother tongue can question, challenge and problematize meanings, assumptions and representations taken-for-granted, thus remoduling the perception and the representation of the self and others. Therefore, she believes that Foreign Language Education should undergo further several radical shifts, definitively abandoning an essentialist view of the target language/culture to foster a more nuanced, and critical, view of the relation between language and culture.
In her PhD research, she investigated cross-linguistic interactions among adolescents in multicultural and plurilinguistic contexts from the perspective of Linguistic Anthropology, Intercultural Education, and Critical Linguistics and Pedagogies. Her findings show that cross-linguistic interactions reshape personal and collective identities, constantly moving and recombining the (narrated) borders of language, identity and ethnicity: bottom-up language practices can facilitate intercultural encounters and create spaces in-between for trans-cultural affiliations, and are also able to reveal aspects linked to language creativity and to the personal agency of speakers as social agents.
She also focuses on the issue of power connected to languages, and on how Critical Pedagogies can address them, examining in particular the challenges and the opportunities advanced by the English language(s). At the intersection of global phenomena and local appropriations, of norms and variations, of homogenization and subversion, English has triggered fierce debates on the linguistic, sociocultural, political, ideological and pedagogical implications of its widespread, but also on the potentially creative and critical appropriations from below that it can elicit. She assumes that, precisely for its multifaceted quality and the controversies it arises, English language(s) can represent the ideal site to observe how individual and collective representations of culture and identity move through language affiliations and appropriations. She is also interested in what could be called ‘Applied Literary Criticism in L2’, as she examines the experience of the literary text in L2, and in particular of Poetry in L2, as an open space for a renewed imagination able to disclose one’s emotions and empathize with others’, in a way less conditioned by memories and (self-appointed or given) roles connected to one’s linguacultural background.
She is affiliated with ALTE (Association of Language Testers in Europe), ESTIDIA (European Society for Transcultural and Interdisciplinary Dialogue), IAIE (International Association for Intercultural Education), I-LanD (Identity, Language and Diversity), lend (linguistica e nuova didattica), Researching Multilingually at the Border, and VAC (Visual Arts Circle). She is referee for Rhetoric and Communications E-Journal, an online journal on Applied Linguistics, and a referee and book reviewer for Intercultural Education, a journal published by Routledge, Taylor & Francis
She has published the monograph Diversi da sé, simili agli altri. L2, letteratura e immaginazione come pratiche di pedagogia interculturale (Different from One’s Self, Similar to Others: L2, Literature & Imagination as Practices of Intercultural Education), Roma: CISU (2013), as well as chapters in collective volumes, articles in international journals, and participated at several international conferences. She has published a book as well:
Giorgis, P. (2018). Meeting foreignness: Foreign languages and foreign language education as critical and intercultural experiences. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.
Paola Giorgis may be contacted via email.
Work for CID:
Paola Giorgis is author of KC51: Critical Discourse Analysis, and KC88: Critical Cultural Linguistics, and translator of KC1: Intercultural Dialogue, and KC51: Critical Discourse Analysis into Italian. She also serves as a reviewer for Italian translations of the Key Concepts (which is how she ended up listed as a second translator into Italian for KC14: Dialogue, KC37: Dialogue Listening, KC39: Otherness and The Other(s), and KC81: Dialogue as a Space of Relationship.
She has written 3 guest posts: On translation as an intercultural practice; Intercultural communication or post-cultural communication? Reflecting on mistakes in intercultural encounters; and Teaching EFL with a hidden agenda: Introducing intercultural awareness through a grammar lesson.
She was interviewed about critical discourse analysis, translation as an intercultural practice, and intercultural dialogue.
Her students won 2nd place in the 2018 CID Video Competition, and prepared a video about the process, “The Making of…”: A Path between Cultures to help competitors in the 2019 competition. In 2020, a different cohort of students prepared the video We Rise, in response to COVID-19.