ERUA Traveling seminar “Literanomics: what can poetry teach us about the economy?” – a collaboration that made students not only interact, but also critically think and co-create knowledge across contexts, disciplines and cultures
The ERUA Traveling seminar “Literanomics: what can poetry teach us about the economy?” was held on 3 – 5.04.2023 at Paris 8 University, bringing together over 20 students from the Bachelor’s Programs in Economics in NBU and different Masters’ and Ph.D. Programs in Language studies and Literature in Paris 8 and representatives of the academia from Paris 8, NBU and the University of the Aegean to discuss, stimulate and generate ideas on the intersection between economics and literature in understanding and explaining human behaviour and decisions and financial and economic crises based on the combination of economic ideas and literary devices in Caroline Bergvall’s poem, “The Fried Tale (London Zoo)” (Meddle English, 2011). The seminar was organized by Assist. Prof. Elena Spasova and Assoc. Prof. Eduard Marinov from the Department of Economics of the NBU and Ph.D. Candidate in American literature Elise Angioi with the support of Assoc. Prof. Susan Ball and Ph.D. Candidate Hanna Hadjadj (all three are members of the research unit TransCrit at University Paris 8).
The program of the seminar included interdisciplinary academic lecturers and discussions that gave the possibility to students to acquire, broaden and deepen their knowledge of the ideas, concepts and instruments of the economic “narratives” and the literary narratives as means to explain and express human behavior, motivation and dilemmas. The participants firstly discussed the fundamental concepts in economics and the basics of economic theory, the uses and functions of literature in terms of the heuristic, epistemological, critical values of literature and their interrelation. This was followed and combined with an open discussion of ethics, morality and rationality from both economic and literature perspective and in the context of the literary tools to present human behaviour and financial and economic crises in Caroline Bergvall’s “Fried Tale”.
The field trip to the La Défеnse district and the open dialogue involving different artistic genres and medias (poetry, architecture, movies, novels) and the in-depth discussions on the different aspects of representation of economic ideas and concepts in arts enabled the elaboration of students’ projects on the crossdisciplinarity meaning of value, justice, equity and greed. The discussion and reflection sessions and the group work workshops presented the students to participate in and come up with their own interpretation and justification of the intersection of economics, literature and ethics in Caroline Bergvall’s “Fried Tale”, as well as more generally – in the representation of life, morale and economics in literature.
The seminar managed to mix up undergraduate, graduate and PhD students in Economics and Literature with different nationality, mother tongue and backgrounds and to apply an innovative approach of teaching economics through literature insights and literature through economic concepts in a multicultural way and environment which motivated critical thinking and the co-creation of knowledge across contexts, disciplines, and people. This innovative student-centered interdisciplinary teaching and learning format allowed for a transfer of knowledge both between disciplines as well as among students and teachers.