Religious Intolerance: Open Challenges for Education

Culture and education play a pivotal role in preventing and combating forms of discrimination and violence towards religious minorities. The idea of educating to ‘religious tolerance’ is at the basis of a multitude of educational programs and teachings all over Europe (and beyond). However, this idea is not always clear in its conceptual assumptions and extended analysis attesting the results achieved are still lacking.

The research program Religious Intolerance: Open Challenges for Education addresses the prevention/contrast of young people’s intolerant and violent discourses or attitudes towards religious minorities by analyzing principles, methods and results of official teachings in school curricula as well as complementary forms of education in formal and informal settings.

For 2017-2018, the program also includes a series of laboratories for secondary schools in Trento titled Tell a Different Story!, aimed at supporting students in handling with diffusion on the web of intolerant contents against religious minorities. In accordance with the international project Dangerous Speech, this action-research focuses on the risks deriving not only from explicitly violent expressions (hate speech) but also from fear-inducing and divisive discourses (dangerous speech) and supports students’ critical and argumentative competences in the use of the web and for the production of counter-narratives.

Finally, ISR is among the promoters of Circol@zioni, a schools competition launched for 2017-2018 by Rete Dialogues, which is a network of Italian public schools coordinated by Italian Minister for Education (MIUR), soliciting classes in realizing social innovation projects inspired by the culture of dialogue and its tools. ISR will support schools working on religious diversity and religiosity in contemporary society by providing theoretical and methodological contributions on specific topics (e.g. religions and the web, the sacred places, youth religiosity and the expression and respect of students’ religious belongings in public school).

Date: 2017 - 2018