TRANS Internet-Zeitschrift für Kulturwissenschaften 17. Nr. Juni 2010

Sektion 8.12. Framed Knowledge as an obstacle for creativity and transition of societies
Sektionsleiterin | Section Chair: Farhad Atai (University of Tehran)

Dokumentation | Documentation | Documentation

Section report 8.12.

Fragmented knowledge as an obstacle
for creativity and transformation of the societies

Munira Shahidi (Slavic University of Tajikistan) [BIO]



On behalf of the section I want to extend our deep gratitude to coordinator principal, Wiss Dir. Dr. Herbert Arlt, for giving us that opportunity to participate the extremely important international conference Knowledge, Creativity and Transformations of societies. The conference became another important step in perception of the variety of tendencies and orientations in the globalizing world and actual efforts of the societies to create their own status in that process. All members of the section hope for the further cooperation with INST, which is so important for Central Asia, in general, and Tajikistan, particularly.

The section: Fragmented knowledge as an obstacle for creativity and transformation of the societies has been composed from 12 received abstracts. In fact, however, only 6 authors could participate in face-to–face discussion of their papers, plus two participants from Turkey and Afghanistan, who joint the section in Vienna. Although participants could not embrace all the aspects of the given problem of Central Asia in transition period from the soviet, isolative style of thinking into independent, integrative approach to the globalizing world, the lively discussion of on-going process of releasing national/regional identities from the restrictions of soviet politicized system of knowledge created a network of scholars and politicians to promote the process. Participants approached the problem from different dimensions, such as reformation of education, emerging of the new public institutions, internationalization of the knowledge in medicine and arts, regional political structures with their advantages and disadvantages, outward evaluation of the situation in Tajikistan, student movements etc. Thus, quite clear picture has been drawn, regarding new effective tendencies of transition period in Tajikistan in their connection with regional and European countries. The main shortcoming of that picture, however, is still domination of powerful structures and the lack of intercultural, interdisciplinary approach to the problem. That were a very important remark, made by Mr. Ján Figel’, EU Commissioner, about ‘cultural studies, becoming the most important in the world policy’ has been welcomed in our section. The common point of the outstanding speakers of the conference about wholistic approach to the problems of globalizing world was very important and timely sounded for the participants from Central Asia. Although   realization of that model on a quantity new stage of human development, is only starting.

The roots of that model go back to Ibn Sina/Avicenna’s (b.980, in Bukhara), who created it at the eve of the last millennium. It was met by the Latin world of Middle Ages, but modernity with its main principle of ‘divide and rule’, has broken that wholeness, improving ‘knowledge for elites’ not available for the majority of people. Although technological revolution in the West of the 60th of the last century demolished the borders of the knowledge of ‘elected’ strata of the societies, economical interests are dominating instruments for the world prosperity. Thus, the gap in between rich, developed superpowers and poor, developing countries will impact on creativity of the first at the expenses of the second. Nevertheless, the section has shown the willingness of the societies of   Central Asia to gain momentum and create conditions for integration into more well-being part of the world society, following its own tradition of inclusive policy rather then sharing exclusive policy of the past.   

The final observation of the section will start from evaluation of the core of the problem, describe and analyze discussion of the problem from different dimensions and, finally, will formulate the conclusion of the section.

The core of the problem, formulated in the abstract of Munira Shahidi as an organizer of the section and a head of it is, that there is a gap in the world system of knowledge in between national/regional and the modern world system of knowledge. That gap restrains legalization of the creative potential of the societies of Central Asia and arrests transformation of the societies from past to present. To bridge that gap means to rethink original and organic international, intercultural system of knowledge in Central Asia, which has been narrowed, though systematized during the soviet period. The crucial point, which has been outlined in the introductory word was Ibn Sina/Avicennian critical and creative approach to the classical Greek system of knowledge and evaluation of art as the most functional and available instrument for the transformation of the societies. That intention has been central in the activity of jadids of the beginning of the last century, who intended to promote transition of the backward and culturally isolated Bukharian society of Central Asia, but that movement has been crushed and smashed by Stalinist terror against intellectuals at 30th, which has been continued at 50th, as one of our authors, Dina Mukhamedkhan (Kazakhstan) has shown in her article. Although reformative approach to the pre-soviet state of arts and creation of new national/regional art created new forms of self-expression of modern times, such as a new literature, music, and educational system, as a whole, these innovations are not protected in new circumstances of globalizing world. What should be done in evaluation of Islam as civilization factor in the history of modern civilization and how avicennian principle to re-think the past in order to improve the present and open perspectives for the future could be implemented to-day? What are the main points to create new conditions, integrating modern world?

The main, important points are reform of education and, adopting experience of the modern world, gradually integrate new international space of education. That was the point, evaluated by the professor, the chair of the department of IA of Tajik-Russian (Slavic) University of Tajikistan Jura Latipov and the senior researcher of the Center of Strategic Research under the auspices of the president of Tajikistan, Kurbonboy Boboev. What are the ways of integrating the modern world educational system due to creation of the agreements within the activity of international organizations? What are the local obstacles in that process? These points were the main in discussions, raised by Jura Latipov, while Boboev focused mainly on evaluation of knowledge itself within the newly established credit system in education. Their arguments and factors of development of the state policy in education system of Tajikistan has been, however, criticized in the presentation of Nasiba Miravazchonova, the researcher of the Z.Shahidi Museum of musical culture. She pointed out that the majority of the students are marginalized from the process of reformation of education. ‘There is no any dialogue in between statehood and student hood’, argued she. Reforms of education have been mentioned, also, in the papers of the deputy rector of the State Pedagogical University, Umeda Gaforova (Khojant State University) and Shahnoza Muminova (Dushanbe Pedagogical University), both declared their abstracts, but not presented their papers on the section.

The second, not less important issue has been raised by the doctor of medicine, director of the clinics of Endocrinology of RT Salomat Kasimova, focusing on providing public health for gaining the modern innovations in medicine, cooperating with the available international organizations in Tajikistan. Her point was to take into consideration environmental specifics in both: treatment and pharmacy and she proved her position by describing the local desease, known as crop. What were the views of the treatment of it in ancient medicine, what methods of treatment are known by now and what are innovations of contemporary medicine and methods of prevention of that disease in nowadays societies. What is important to know is that type of diseases impact significantly intellectual capacity of the society and can be the main obstacle for its development.

These and other innovative approaches to the transformation of the societies need new institutions, which creating conditions for the dialogue between the specialists, scholars and actors of cultures, could create new programs, introducing them for the government, argued the general secretary of the Public Council near the president of the RT, Mavlon Muhtorov. How and why that institution have been organized and what is its mission now, at that transition period? - that was the content of presentation of Mavlon Muhtorov.

The ‘other’, though relatively close observation of the problem in Tajikistan, has been offered by Farhad Atai from Tehran University, Iran. Discussing ‘soviet identity’ as a product of soviet totalitarian regime, which could however, as an institutionalized culture, be oriented rather for dialogue of cultures, then ‘in favor of an exclusive national agenda’, Atai   raised a lively discussion and willingness of participants for the further defining the ways for actualization of the inward/outward dialogue. But this ‘national’ identity, built at soviet period, imitating the European concept of national-state building, has its own specifics and originality, which could be recognized now within the discussing of that phenomenon by truly international scholarly society. Newly organized regional organizations, like SOC are oriented to realize the inner potential of Central Asia, enforcing the regional voice in building new international affaires, as it is discussed in the abstract of Nargis Nurulla-Khoja, also not presented and discussed at the section. So, Viennese conference, though created good conditions for international, intercultural discussion, became, in the example of our section, rather regional then inter-regional meeting of experts.

The problems of knowledge, as a world system, exist in all developing countries, but financed by developed or politically ‘interested’  powerful countries, will be never ever solved constructively and creatively solved and, thus, helpful for transformation of the societies from colonized into independent thoughts. Creativity as a product of individual perception of the experience of the world, in theory can not be limited by the state or region. But in practice, creativity of developing countries, as Tajikistan and other countries of CA, are limited by a long-time marginalization of their experience, their history, and their religion from the mainstreams of the modern world. Although national/regional potential for creativity has been preserved within the academic research, legalization of that potential within the complex problem of nationhood and statehood has to be raised and discussed in the broader concept of building of the new world order of our own days. To what extend the rights of minorities for knowledge and creativity are protected? What is the role of superpowers, such as Russia, China, India, EU and USA in Central Asia? Where is the guarantee that environmental innovations will be approved by the official policies, if there are only state-to-state programs and projects, not available for the majority of the societies? Thus, the section raised more questions then gave the answers. Nevertheless, discussion of the problem of the ‘framed knowledge, as a problem of inwardly isolated cultures opened diversity of efforts of the educated and active part of the societies, though limitations of the market economy now can create newly emerging problems of raising fundamentalism, extremism and xenophobia within the marginalized societies. But these problems are rather global, then local or regional.

I had an opportunity to raise these problems on plenary section: Diverging Concepts of Europe. My main point was that although EU is still a model for the inner development of CA, discussion of the current documents of partnership are not available for the majority of the societies in Central Asia. Discussion of these documents openly could accelerate solidarity inwardly, widening peacebuilding, positive experience of central Asian societies further more to Afghanistan and Iran, because Tajikistan and other countries of the region share their classical cultural background with neighboring countries from north and south and sharing intercultural identity in time and space. 

We are hope, therefore, that the next Conference will give more space for discussion of the nowadays process at CIS, Asia and Europe, defining their specific and common features.

8.12. Fragmented knowledge as an obstacle for transition of the societies

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TRANS   Inhalt | Table of Contents | Contenu  17 Nr.

For quotation purposes:
Munira Shahidi: Section report 8.12: Observation and Conclusion of the section - In: TRANS. Internet-Zeitschrift für Kulturwissenschaften. No. 17/2008. WWW:

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