Symbolic Boundaries & Multidisciplinary Perspectives: A Summer School on Diversity, Distinction and Difference
University of Opole, Poland
By Dr. Merav Asaf.
An Iranian, an American and an Israeli entered a pierogi bar.… Well, that is not a beginning of a joke but a meeting that actually took place during the summer school at Opole Poland this July.
The summer school, aiming to facilitate graduate and postgraduate European students’ projects, offered a multidisciplinary perspective regarding diversity, distinction and difference.
The issue mainly dealt with, was a contrast between borders, which are natural and permanent; and symbolic boundaries, which are perceived categories that can be revised, blurred, or even eliminated. An example which explains this is the concepts of sex vs. gender. Gender, which is a symbolic categorization, is nowadays undergoing changes, broadening its binary and rigid definition to a more fluid one.
The objective of the summer school was to promote awareness to symbolic boundaries and to our ability to challenge them via theory and practice. Towards this end, lecturers from several countries and disciplines discussed this issue while relating to graphic arts, literature, language, music, cinema, philosophy, sociology, politics and education. Also, the topic was explored by studying the local historical context of the area of Opole. Dr. Nurit Basman-Mor, Dr. Yael Weinberger and Dr. Merav Asaf, from Kaye Academic College of Education, spoke about strategic measures and local actions taken within the college to reclaim trust after conflictual events.
Within this multicultural and multidisciplinary context, many surprising boundaries were challenged in both formal and informal ways.
Dr. Merav Asaf, Head of The School of Advanced Studies – M.Ed