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Orality and Writing: the two faces of words -11-12/01/2018, Padova (Italy)


« More than any other single invention, writing has transformed human consciousness». To those living in a society thoroughly familiar with writing like ours, this statement by W.J. Ong could sound strange. Several ground-breaking studies of the twentieth century – such as Preface to Plato by E. Havelock (1963) and Orality and Literacy by Ong (1982) – have pointed out that the transition from an oral to a chirographic society (which later came to be superseded by the printed word and, finally, by its electronic equivalent) represents the most relevant developments of human thought. But is this the only possible interpretation? More recent contributions to this topic (O. Oruka, 1991; B. De Sousa Santos, 2014) have proposed a new account of the access to knowledge, substituting the traditional idea of the existence of one single universal epistemology, one that generally depends on writing, with a plurality of epistemological approaches (‘sage philosophy’, ‘orature’, ‘corporeality of knowledge’).

Certain is, however, that writing does not entail the disappearance of orality, since the latter continues to represent the first experience of language: from the composition of the Homeric poems to the processing of words with the most modern technologies, orality and writing have never ceased to interact and influence each other. Therefore, today more than ever, a number of phenomena falling under the category of ‘secondary orality’ call for an in-depth and up-to-date study of the relationships between orality and writing from its beginning to the present. This conference aims to tackle this theme from multiple perspectives, including the various declinations of the humanities, ranging from literature to linguistics, from pedagogy to philosophy. Such a wide and interdisciplinary approach will shed further light on the dynamics of orality and writing, hopefully leading to a more comprehensive view of their interactions, so that their contribution to the development of human thought and culture may be equally recognised.

FECHA/ DATE/DATA: 11-12/01/2018

LUGAR/LOCATION/LUOGO: Sala delle edicole, Università degli Studi di Padova (Padova, Italy)

ORGANIZADOR/ORGANIZER/ORGANIZZATORE: Alvaro Barbieri; Jacopo Garzonio; Annalisa Oboe; Emanuele Zinato; Niccolò Zorzi; Diana Antonell; Pietro Bertocchini; Teresa Cancro; Camilla Covazzi; Alice Cravotta; Chiara De Paoli; Giulia Nalesso; Olga Retziou; Francesco Roncen; Valeria Russo; Giovanna Todaro; Raffaele Tondini; Angelica Vedelago; Susanna Zellini.

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