Phase Two 2020-2025 REP’s Fringe Focus
Phase Two of the Rouen Ethnolinguistics Project involves two initiatives. Going deeper and going further, while widening the scope of our reflection. This is difficult but necessary for REP. Our questions have opened up new questions, and we need to break down the barriers restricting speculation to the established, circumscribed frameworks of our institutions. The university exists to bring specialists together, but inevitably specialists feel more comfortable thinking and working within the circumference of their own spheres of understanding and their own methodologies. Consequently, it has become more and more difficult to understand the objectives, the terms, and the methodologies of other disciplines. But this is our double challenge in REP’s second phase: opening up to multilingual encounters and discussions, without abandoning the required conceptual rigour and the intellectual honesty that our individual specialized fields have cultivated in us.
In the second phase of REP’s activities, 2020-2025, we will take up the challenge to help give a meaningful form to our Université Normandie. This means consolidating our ongoing dialogue with our friends in Caen and opening up to Le Havre. But this will not suffice. We need to remind ourselves that the university may be born in the city, but it must think the region and the village, the land and the sea; the places we live, think and feel in. Nomandy University must be active and organized in Elbeuf, Dieppe, Bayeux, Cherbourg, in Honfleur and in the suburbs of Le Havre. These are not “elsewheres” but parts of EveryWhere. And REP will not understand Normandie, Europe, the world, or the world citizens that think in time, space, society and language, if it forgets them.
In this sense, we will go deeper into the local environment, seeking to understand the threads that weave together in the fabrics of local worldviews, and suburban and small town perspectives. But this attempt to grasp the local does not run contrary to REP’s desire to escape eurocentrism and open up to the global world. Rather, we consider that small towns, suburbs, and in-between forms of “rurbanization” are increasingly universal phenomena. So perhaps we will learn more from studying the borders between Scotland and England, and between the Ukraine and Poland, and between the Czech, Slovak and Austrian states, than in focusing on multicultural diversity so often (rightfully) celebrated in New York or London. This fringe focus, is REP’s exceptional contribution, and we believe it will bring us closer to the global concerns of the vast majority of people in our times.