Identities and Education:

Comparative Perspectives in an Age of Crisis

 

Department of Education, University of Cyprus, Nicosia, Cyprus

Identities are made and unmade and this is especially true in our current times of crisis. Depending on one’s perspective and location, this moment may be about enduring conflicts, deepening poverty and inequalities, dislocations of peoples, or for example, the rise of post-factual information flows. It may also be about the resurgence of populist movements that are fuelling new forms of border protectionism, cultural closure and anti-cosmopolitan identity displays.

But crises are not only about identity disruption and anxiety. They are also moments of possibility and potential. Not only do they trigger discussion about the causes of our current situation, but they also facilitate debate about our possible futures. Education, central to the project of individual and collective identity formation, national development and international relations, is at the heart of these moments. Whilst education has undoubtedly contributed to creating these moments, it is uniquely placed to engage with them. What should be the agenda of study and action for education in such times?

The conference offers the chance to examine and problematise our contemporary moment. Through the heuristic of identity, the conference aims at creating a platform for understanding our current challenges and considering the potential of education to address them. As an intellectual strategy, comparative education is well suited to explore the intersections of local, regional and global history, social structures and biographies of persons that interact to produce uncertainty as well as opportunity. As a palimpsest of history, cultures, aesthetics, geopolitics and disputed meanings, Cyprus and its capital city of Nicosia are one of the most suitable locations for exploring identity and education in interdisciplinary, inter-sectional, relational and eclectic ways.

The following key speakers are invited to help us unfold this conference theme through Plenary Lectures:

  • Identities and crisis from a Mediterranean perspective
  • Identities and the future of the European project
  • Identities and the future of global education
  • Identities and comparative education

The following sub-themes, organised as Working Groups and reflecting diverse perspectives, institutional sites and professional groups, have been also established to explore the overall topic of the conference:

  • History, theory and comparative education
  • Governance, nation state and the new transnational order
  • Curricula, textbooks and citizenship
  • Practitioners, pedagogies and interventions
  • Higher education, vocational training and lifelong learning
  • Identities beyond formal education

In addition to these six Working Groups, there will be a New Scholars Working Group, as well as opportunities to submit papers for a number of cross-thematic sessions and thematically-focused panels where identity will be in perspective. These panels will include:

  • Conflict, reconciliation and the promise of education
  • The refugee crisis and the future of humanitarian work
  • Colonialism, neo-colonialism and identity
  • Gender, sexuality and education
  • Youth identities across Europe
  • Language, education and identity
  • Evaluation and assessment - and what it means to be educated
  • Global methodologies in the study of identity

The Local Organising Committee and the Executive Committee of CESE look forward to welcoming our Members and academic colleagues from across Europe and the world. We are sure that you will enjoy our intellectually intensive programme of plenary lectures, working groups and thematically-focused panels, as well as our lively social programme.