Bicocca – Second Day of the Summer School

15-SeptemberThe second day of the Summer School was another intense day rich in perspectives and discussions between lecturers and participants.

The main themes addressed included the following: “ethnic, religious, economic and gender nationalism and the question of minorities” and “from toleration to respect of the ‘other’: rebuilding the fundamental human and civic rights through the post-conflict reconstruction of trust”.

Prof. Gorazd Andrejč, of the Woolf Institute in Cambridge, opened the morning session with a lecture on “meanings of ethical concepts in secular democracy: the contribution of moral and religious minorities”. He reflected on moral concepts to stress how society negotiate the meanings of such concepts. He further discussed on the concept of “common good” in society and the role of religious communities and beliefs in relation to it.

Prof. Darko Djogo, of the University of East Sarajevo, held a lecture on “religion and tolerance after Charlie Hebdo” and he discussed on the need to bring the topic of “ethnic” back into pedagogic curricula, stimulating the debate on the freedom of expression versus the respect/not harming of people, thus calling for increasing “empathy” as a “virtue” to be promoted in society.

The afternoon session started with the lecture on “Yugoslav wars 1991-1999: ethno-national and religious ‘minorities’ redefinition through violence and territorial partition”, by the Summer School Director, Prof. Tatjana Sekulić, of the University of Milan-Bicocca. She gave an overview of the formation and dissolution of ex Yugoslavia with a focus on the construction of ethnic identities and how these have been used by various actors to legitimising the rising of conflicts and violence too. A second and final lecture, for the day, was given by Prof. Asim Mujkić, of the University of Sarajevo on “the crossroads of alternatives: democratic counter-power and radical democratic citizenship”. He questioned whether hegemony can only be replaced by an equally hegemonic counter-action, suggesting that the need would be for a “weak” hegemony in which we should strive for horizontality and not verticality, to expand our moral horizon by expanding the horizon of people we define as “we”.

To wrap up the intense working day a workshop was organised involving discussions with the students on the main issues raised through the day.