Meeting places: Strategic regions between Europe, North Africa and Asia (Q13)
The proposal for the structure of PROGRES programs was created on the basis of a continuously set concept of supporting scientific activities at the Faculty of Arts, Charles University, which was outlined in the Strategic Plan of the Faculty of Arts, Charles University (2015) and reflected in the Long-term Plan of the Faculty of Arts, Charles University for 2016-2020. In accordance with these documents, the proposed structure of the programs covers a wide thematic range of disciplines and research areas cultivated at the Faculty of Arts, Charles University, and is designed to contribute to the development of research that has the character or potential of “excellence” and synergistic effects. Innovative and often “risky” interdisciplinary cooperation was also taken into account, both within the Faculty of Arts, Charles University and the entire university. The schedule of programs follows thematically on the previous 8 PRVOUK programs, which were solved at the Faculty of Arts, Charles University, with their content or focus being adjusted in accordance with the latest trends in research and taking into
ount successes and weaknesses of previous research. With this in mind, another interdisciplinary research was added to the existing programs. All programs are provided by top employees in the given areas.
The project is based on the dynamics of relations in today’s world, which is characterized by a change in the balance of power between traditional centers and peripheries. It does not follow these relations from a global perspective, as is usual, but focuses on the dialogue between specific actors, or the asymmetry of this dialogue or its possible absence. It does not have a single geographical focus, as the places of encounter (in the sense of meeting different ones) and potential conflicts can be different, even completely virtual (social networks), so it includes “strategic areas” (North Africa and the Middle East, China, India, Central and Southeast). Asia, Eastern and South-Eastern Europe), but also the coexistence of different cultures (majorities and minorities) in Europe and mutual views of non-European societies (eg Japan-China, China-Tibet, Israel-Palestine).
The common goal of the project is to help understand societies (civilizations, communities, minorities) that differ from “us”, and how these societies see us (and each other), whether in historical and contemporary relationships, communication, artistic imagination or – in the event of a change of location, in the process of migration, including the current influx of refugees into Europe. The project also monitors the limits of understanding and failures in dialogue, including their causes and examples of conflict resolution. At the same time, it also contributes to the understanding of our own identity and its emerging paradigms, whether Czech or “European”, and the much-discussed “values” on which it is – or sees itself as – based.
The program follows three basic axes, which characterize the basic modes of descriptive and analytically-understandable relation to the cultures of relevant regions:1. Understanding the “other” by changing perspective
Accepting the perspective of the “other”, taking the perspective “from within”, is one of the preconditions for breaking down prejudices, distorting and alienating evaluative attitudes towards another culture. The topic is also the analysis of the problem of self-identification in relation to broader frameworks.
2. Crossing borders: cultures in contact
The second level of research focuses on people and cultures in their movement, taking into account intercultural contact and also the migration of ideas. Leaving the original habitat forces individuals or groups to re-evaluate their original identity. Complicated negotiations are taking place between the newly established communities and their new environment.
3. Construction of borders: strategies and places
The program seeks to address the possibilities of coexistence of cultures by studying the “other” about itself (Axis 1), analyzes the ways of negotiation that allowed and allows coexistence of cultures without a priori anticipating its character and reveals the reasons for mutual misunderstandings (Axis 2). The third axis examines cases of lost communication and unsuccessful resolution of tensions, resulting in conflict.