Tolerance, perhaps one of the most significant and controversial concepts in our contemporary society, was the subject of an international symposium held at the University of Calgary.
The three-day symposium gathered international scholars and students to reflect on the subject from Feb. 21–23. Participants included scholars and students from numerous faculties including German, English, religious studies, philosophy, law, history, drama, and art history-and at all levels, from academy to graduate and undergraduate students.
"The concept was quite interdisciplinary," said Department of Germanic, Slavic, and East Asian Studies co-organizer and acting head of the Dr. Florentine Strzelczyk. "We hardly ever come together to talk about how tolerance works in our various disciplines."
The symposium focused on examining the usefulness of tolerance through different perspectives in both discipline and nationality. ""Tolerance should be a temporary attitude only. It must lead to recognition. " stated its adopted motto a quotation from Goethe. "To tolerate is to insult."
Tolerance represented one of the key concepts of the enlightenment and these historical perspectives were acknowledged in a comparative sense between both Europe and North America. Recognizing the significance of tolerance with respect to Germany in the twentieth century is of particular importance stated Strzelczyk. Contemporary society was also a principal topic for discussion.
The conference was not only theoretical though, noted Strzelczyk. The symposium included several practical displays including two theatre productions, art, and music exhibitions. These displays also included a special poster exhibition where students in particular were engaged in the discussion.
Prospects for the participants included possible participation in a research group or application for research grants.