10th International Symposium Successfully Held by Confucius Institute in Waterloo

[Source]    Confucius Institute in Waterloo, Canada [Time]    2018-10-17 09:10:00 

The International Symposium on Cultural Identity and Confidence in the Era of Post-multiculturalism was successfully held in Waterloo by Renison University College and the Confucius Institute in Waterloo from September 28th to October 3rd, 2018.

This is the 10th international symposium hosted by Confucius Institute in Waterloo. It gathered 20 leading researchers and scholars in social science, religious studies and culture and language studies from Canada and China to engage in dialogues on multiculturalism, cultural identity, cultural confidence, the community of shared future, and writings on multiculturalism in world literature.

Dr. Wendy L. Fletcher, President of Renison University College, and Prof. Yan Li, Director of the Confucius Institute, chaired the English session and the Chinese session of the conference respectively.

Using both historical lenses and a post-structuralist critique, Dr. Fletcher explored the limitations of the much celebrated vision of Multiculturalism in the Canadian story in her speech titled Multiculturalism or Interculturalism? A New Social Imaginary for Canada- What Does Race Have to Do With it? She postulated a more daring prospect, framing a vision of inter-culturalism as the defining trope for Canada’s new social imaginary. Such a vision invites the prospect of living authentically into the Canadian ideal of diversity, beyond the harms of systemic and personal racism which have so characterized the past.

Prof. Yan Li has been the director of the Confucius Institute in Waterloo since 2007 and has made great efforts to promote cultural and literature exchanges between Canada and China. She and her colleagues have organized many international symposiums to encourage the understanding of multicultural co-existence in the world. Her speech The Controversy about Joseph Boyden’s Bear Story in 2017, remarked on the Appropriation Prize, which sparked great outrage in 2017, reflecting on the causes of this “literary event.”

Based on stories from her years of teaching language and culture, Julia Williams, Director of English Language Studies, invited the audience to consider the ever-changing definition of culture and the move to pluricultural societies in her speech A Dynamic Definition of Culture and the Transition to Pluriculturalism.

Dr. Daniel Bratton, Professor of the Department of Culture and Language Studies at Renison University College, has spent 17 years in the Far East. His speech Sense of Place or Sense of Planet demonstrated the difference between multiculturalism and cosmopolitanism. The former generally emphasizes ancestry and place of birth, whereas the latter exhibits more fluid forms of identification. He believed that eco-cosmopolitanism would move beyond the rhetoric of tolerance into a more active embrace of planetary community bound not by territory but only the limits of our imagination.

Two PhD students in the Religious Studies Department at the University of Waterloo shared their research on the symposium as well. Doaa Shalabi explored different approaches to cultural sustainability within the Muslim community and how they are practiced by Canadian Muslims. Chris Miller looked at the world of Contemporary Paganism and how identity plays a role in constructing these groups’ narratives. He explored the difficulties that a multi-cultural society presents for declaring when theft has occurred versus when a group has merely taken inspiration from another community.

Eighteen speakers from Canada and China were invited to carry on dialogues from different perspectives. When multiculturalism no longer seems to be a ready weapon stored in the text corpus of “political correctness”, the “death knell” of multiculturalism is now being echoed across the world. How can individuals live with each other in the increasingly interconnected (but perhaps also separated) reality in the era of post-multiculturalism? How do different cultures hold up to their respective identity and confidence in this era of post-multiculturalism? Researchers and scholars attended the symposium have given their answers to such questions.


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