Attention: This site looks better in the latest Mozilla or Internet Explorer.

The Humanities Conference 2003

Home | Newsletter | Call for Papers | Register

Presentation Details

 Download: Poster | Brochure 1 | Brochure 2    

Literature and Intercultural Dialogue: Why One Should Learn to Read

Andrea Lesic-Thomas, Dr Zoran Milutinovic.

According to Mikhail Bakhtin, the semiotic depth of any culture can only be fruitfully explored through the eyes and ears of another, alien culture. By engaging in a dialogue in which neither side abandons its own cultural context, and can therefore pose questions to the other that a single culture would never ask itself, both cultures grow in their understanding of themselves and of the other, and are, as Bakhtin puts it, ‘mutually enriched’ (‘Response to a Question from Novy Mir’, 1970).
In the world in which historically far more common versions of mutual relations between cultures seem to be misunderstanding and mistrust, which in our own time is still deeply scarred by the colonial past, a neo-imperialist present and by ever-growing political and economic inequalities (and consequently tensions) between the rich and the poor, ‘developed’ and ‘developing’ countries, Bakhtin’s view of cultural interrelations may seem impossibly optimistic. However, as a both scholarly and ethical programme for an approach to cultural studies within various humanistic disciplines, Bakhtin’s idea of dialogue is as timely as ever. This paper proposes to explore some of the ways in which the study of literature can provide us all with crucial methodological approaches and key texts for inter-cultural analysis and co-operation, with a primary focus on Bakhtin’s ideas. The authors themselves will engage in a dialogue, drawing on their cultural and professional experiences from life and work in Eastern and Western Europe and the USA.


Andrea Lesic-Thomas

Dr Zoran Milutinovic

  • Interculturality
  • Literature
  • Dialogism
  • Methodology
Person as Subject
  • Bakhtin, Mikhail Fish, Stanley

(30 min Conference Paper, English)