Summer School “Humanities in Transition” in Kovačica
After five one-day seminars organised for students of social sciences and humanities, discussing literature in the field of education and critical pedagogy, as well as education policies, curriculum, culture, discourses that form a system of values in students, the importance of culture and humanistic education for a democratic society, in cooperation with the “Book Factory” we held a four-day school “Humanities in Transition”, in Kovačica, on July 14-17, 2016.
The school curriculum encompassed lectures, discussions with lecturers, film screenings and discussions. The school lecturers were: Biljana Đorđević, Assistant Professor for the group of political-theoretical courses at the Faculty of Political Sciences; Branislav Dimitrijević, Professor of History and Art Theory from the University College of Fine and Applied Arts; Snježana Milivojević, Professor of Public Opinion and Media Studies at the Faculty of Political Sciences and Ana Kolarić, Assistant Professor at the Department of Comparative Literature and Theory of Literature of the Faculty of Philology. The lectures and discussions were moderated by Dejan Ilić, Editor of the “Book Factory” publishing company and the Editor in Chief of “Word”, the journal for literature and culture, and social issues. The school was attended by 35 students, mainly from the departments of social sciences and humanities.
The lecture of Biljana Đorđević – “Epistocracy of the educated or education for democracy?”problematised the idea that “the wise should rule because the masses are irrational and people are ignorant”. Biljana addressed the issue of the role of experts in democratic institutions and processes: whether experts should have an impact only on the technical / factual issues or also on the political and ethical decisions. She pointed out the insufficiency of “epistocracy of the educated” in making complex decisions of the public interest, where there is no feedback on the needs of citizens, and thus a decision is not a democratic one. The answer to this is education of citizens for developing and preserving democracy, for participating in decision-making and the provision of information, and instead of repro ducing the existing social order – forming a “democratic entity”.
The lecture of Branislav Dimitrijević – “Beware of artists, they mix with classes of society!” addressed the importance of critical theory in art education. The title was taken from a letter written by the King Leopold of Belgium to his niece Queen Victoria in the mid 19th century, and the lecture participants discussed whether fine art still has the potential to act as a practice of emancipation, both personal and social, and as a platform for critical thinking and social intervention.
Snježana Milivojević talked about – critical reading of the (new) media, where she started from the assumption that all the media were once new, but the modern technological revolution has created new ‘media ecology’. Digitalisation, the Internet and mobile platforms have transformed the information needs and habits of citizens in a networked society and changed the traditional concept of the ‘informative media’ and journalism as one of the pillars of democratic society. They discussed the importance and consequences of this ‘death of journalism’ on the civic engagement and modern democracy, as well as the effectiveness of media transition, building media institutions, policies and systems to ensure that the media companies created in the analog age are successfully transformed in the digital era.
The lecture of Ana Kolarić “Conflict and (Informal) Education: Dora Marsden and ‘free woman’” dealt with the importance of conflict and debate for educational purposes in the case of Dora Marsden (1882-1960) and her magazine. In 1911, Dora Marsden, together with Mary Gawthorpes, launched the magazine “The Freewoman. A Weekly Feminist Review”, which became a place of lively debates on many important feminist issues: from what makes a free woman, through analysis and criticism of the accepted model of morality and sexuality, descriptions of social and eco nomic problems faced by women on a daily basis, to critical texts examining feminine creativity, as well as the representation of women in art and literature. Dora Marsden created a space in which others could exercise their freedom. It was also an educational space: debates and conflicts were the means for forming and nurturing authors who were thinking freely.
The Summer School completed the third cycle of our educational programme for students and a new one is planned for this autumn. The lectures from this year’s school in Kovačica will be published in the next issue of “Word” journal, and the lectures from the last year’s school, held in Andrevlje, were published in the latest issue, which can be downloaded from the Peščanik website.
Project: Our Neighbors – Inclusive Communities lead to the vibrant society without discrimination
Goal: Contribution to development of inclusive society in which everybody’s human rights and diversity are respected.
Implementers: Group 484 (Educational Program “We and the Others”), Book Factory
Support: CCFD – Terre solidaire