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  • Photo: Rolf K. Wegst


Critical Thinking and the Love of Literature, Language, and Culture

Critical thinking enriches, enlivens, and enhances academic (as well as non-academic) life. It fosters multiperspectivity, heterogeneity, and multi- and transdisciplinarity and allows us, the members of the Department of Foreign Philologies, to view the world, and academia as part of this world, from different points of view. Whether we look at languages from India, Iran, Syria, Egypt, or at Semitic languages, at literatures from Spain, France, Italy, or Great Britain, at cultures from the United States, Canada, or the Celts, at societies from the Ancient Near East and Greek and Roman Antiquity, or all of this at the same time — what motivates our own learning, teaching, research, and communication is the desire for and the need of understanding as comprehensively as possible how cultures have taken shape in history, have developed, and have become what they are now. Students will soon realize that this implies a critical engagement with sometimes opposing viewpoints from various cultures or academic disciplines. And only then can research and teaching lead to education as the practice of freedom, as both the Brazilian sociologist Paulo Freire and the African American scholar and activist bell hooks suggest.

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