multiculturalism; multicultural education; intercultural pedagogy; biblical topos of the Tower of Babel; polyphonic borderlands
Edukacja Międzykulturowa, Nr 2 (11), (2019), s. 40-56
The biblical topos of the Tower of Babel, used in Tadeusz Lewowicki’s inquiries, is useful – as a counterpoint and a warning – in determining the ideas and postulates of intercultural education and in developing intercultural pedagogy. Recalling the intentions of the builders of the monumental Tower of Babel and
their unforeseen failures, stimulates reflection in pedagogy. “The message from the story of the Tower of Babel has deeper meaning,” states Lewowicki (2007, p. 33), when he considers the complexity of multiculturalism as well as the problems, the misunderstanding, the educational hopes and chances connected with
it. The topos of the Tower of Babel in Lewowicki’s inquiries is complemented by the category of borderland, which is considered (e.g. by Lech Witkowski) in reference to the Mikhail Michajłowicz Bachtin’s (1895–1975) conception. According to Lewowicki’s definitions the various border regions, “border areas of countries, nations, cultures” are the “training ground for intercultural education”. He concludes that in the borderland people can observe and learn how the “process of mutual penetration of cultures is proceeding” (Lewowicki, 2005, p. 19). Experiencing the specific qualities of the polyphonic borderland, also as experiencing varied worlds of values, is considered as “life-giving for intercultural education also outside the borderland” (Lewowicki, 2005, p. 19). If – as Lewowicki emphasizes – the scientists’ obligations are related to developing intercultural pedagogy, then honest compliance with these obligations places high professional requirements on them. The ability to participate in interdisciplinary scientific work is between the obligations,
because without it one cannot effectively develop intercultural pedagogy. The interdisciplinarity of intercultural pedagogy could be seen as the shaping of intercultural relationships between different – often distant – cultures of learning.