The Challenges of Studying the Elements of Diversity and Unity in the Human Experience
Keywords:comparative study of cultures, humanism, Irving Babbitt, Leo Strauss, modern civilisation, globalisation, cosmopolitanism
The paper is a fruit of a series of informal symposiums and an elective course entitled “Orient–Occident”, conducted by the author in 2016 and 2019 at the Institute of Intercultural Studies of the Jagiellonian University in Kraków. The author identifies a set of issues commonly perceived as the main challenges of our age and focuses specifically on the challenge of intercultural relations in a “globalized world” to provide a critical examination of several misconceptions and conventional narratives surrounding this topic. The discussion serves as an introduction to a proposed approach to comparative study of texts of culture, developed primarily in the philosophical tradition and within the conceptual framework of the so-called New Humanism of Irving Babbitt (1865-1933) and combined with some additional components sourced from the works of Leo Strauss (1899-1973). The author argues that this approach provides a valuable exercise of imagination to students of culture and cultural diversity as it strives to strike a balance between the perception of diversity and unity in the human experience – a quality rarely displayed in contemporary cultural studies.
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