Italian Language and Culture Conference: Connections
The theme of this year’s conference is “Connections.” Through this topic we want to highlight the challenges and the changes that have emerged in the last two years with regards to issues related to connecting physically and emotionally to others. Both the COVID-19 pandemic and the profound social unrest and awakening that have characterized this period have impacted us as teachers and researchers in unprecedented ways. The pandemic showed us the effects of isolation and physical separation and forced us to forge methodologies and pedagogical tools that would allow for those connections to take place in the context of virtual instruction. The social debates over disparities and unequal distribution of resources exacerbated during the pandemic, together with the emergence of new movements aiming at redressing social inequalities, also pushed us to ponder about our roles, our course content, and pedagogies. This conference is designed as a moment of reflection and exchange on these topics. In particular, our encounter will focus on the challenges to research and teaching that both the pandemic and the changing social climate have posed to us in the last two years as well as on the innovations that we implemented in our curricula and pedagogies. We will discuss questions such as: How did we/Can we keep our students engaged in a remote modality during the pandemic? What other challenges did we face and how did we overcome them? What new topics did we implement in our curricula and research to respond to the demands of the current social climate? How do we promote human connections, intercultural competence, and social justice in our courses? How do we incorporate skills such as creativity, collaboration, communication, and leadership into programs to improve our students’ preparation and to help them become better citizens? These topics will be at the core of the 2022 Italian Language and Culture Conference organized at Georgetown University and sponsored by the Italian Cultural Institutes In Washington DC and New York as part of a series of events celebrating Italian Language Week.