Challenges of Communities in Cross - Border Areas

This course is part of the programme
Master's Degree Programme Humanities Studies

Objectives and competences

Contact between students and people in the field and students’ understanding of institutions, cultural workers, associations and other promoters of cultural life.
Visits to SLORI, KD Ivan Trinko, Rezija, the Friulian Philological Society, KD Igo Gruden from Nabrežina, the Fisheries Museum in Križ, etc. Understanding of their activities, tasks, experiences, beliefs and problems.
Familiarity with ethnographic methodology.
Familiarity with sociolinguistic situations and related stereotypes using discourse analysis.

Students will be trained to engage in constructive debates about current issues and to solve modern development challenges by using critical thinking (evaluation, analysis, argumentation, self-reflection).


The course is linked to the course Multilingualism, Literature, and Creativity from an Intercultural Perspective.


At the beginning of each academic year, three topics related to Gorizia, Udine, Trieste-Karst or Istria will be selected for interdisciplinary discussion. Students will first read three prose works that problematize current issues of multicultural contexts. The milieus addressed in prose will be analyzed and evaluated through field research (interviews, participant observation, focus group discussions) from linguistic (e.g., contact language, sociolinguistic perspective) and anthropological perspectives (lifestyle, affects, role of the individual in society, community development). The course will highlight literary stereotypes, cultural and identification practices and beliefs about ourselves and “Others”, our and their language in multilingual environments.
The course also includes invited lecturers (e.g. from SLORI, minority associations from Slavia Veneta, Karst, Istria, museums, institutes, etc.).
Excursions are planned to the regions of Gorizia, Trieste and Veneto, Resia or the Canale Valley. On-site discussion will provide for further comparisons between different multicultural contexts as their diversity is based on different historical circumstances. A comparison with the situation in South Tyrol will follow. Active participation in fieldwork and participation in the discussion using methods of critical thinking (argumentation, evaluation, self-reflection, experiential learning, etc.) will be mandatory.
Students will also complete a seminar paper which will require active field work (interviews, surveys, participant observation ...).

Intended learning outcomes

Students will have knowledge of the main institutions, organizations, societies, cultural workers and researchers in the cross-border area between Slovenia and Italy.
They will have knowledge of literary works that reflect the challenges of multicultural and border areas.
They will have knowledge of the basic terms of imagological theory.

Students will be able to study the needs of a multicultural environment based on the theoretical and practical knowledge they acquire.
They will be able to identify environments facing similar multicultural challenges.
They will be able to write a seminar paper on a topic from a multilingual and border environment of the student's choosing.
They will be able to critically evaluate perceived negative stereotypes and beliefs in multicultural settings.


  • Annual selection of literary works.
  • Tone Smolej (ur.), 2012: Podoba tujega v slovenski književnosti. Podoba Slovenije v tuji književnosti : imagološko berilo. Ljubljana : Znanstvena založba Filozofske fakultete. Catalogue
  • Ana Toroš, 2016: Auto-stereotypes and hetero-stereotypes in Slovene and Italian poetry about Trieste from the first half of the 20th century. Interlitteraria. 290-304. E-version
  • Andreouli, E. (2010). Identity, positioning and self-other relations. Papers on Social Representations, 19(1), 14.1–14.13. E-version
  • Breakwell, G. M. (1993). Social representations and social identity. Papers on Social Representations, 2(3), 198–217. E-version
  • Olson, E.T. (2019). Personal Identity. The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Edward N. Zalta (ed.), (Fall 2019 Edition). . E-version
  • Danila Zuljan Kumar, 2020: Identity and discursive practices of Friulians and Slovenes in the Province of Udine, Italy, in recent decades. Dialectologia : revista electrònica, nr. 24, str. 273–296. E-version
  • Danila Zuljan Kumar, 2018: Identity changes in the Slovenian and Friulian linguistic communities in the Province of Udine, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Italy. European Countryside, vol. 10, no. 1, str. 141–157. E-version


Interdisciplinary seminar paper evaluating a problem selected by students during fieldwork on the topic of multiculturalism.
Active participation in discussions.

Lecturer's references

Dr. Ana Toroš is an associate professor and head of the Doctoral Programme in Humanities at the University of Nova Gorica. Her research focuses on comparative studies of minority literature, literary imagology, cross-border didactics of literature, studies of trauma and literature. Her research focuses on multicultural and multilingual literature in the border areas between Slovenia, Italy and Croatia (Trieste, Venetian Slovenia, Resia, Istria).

Dr. Danila Zuljan Kumar is a researcher in the Dialectology Section of the Fran Ramovš Institute for the Slovenian Language at ZRC SAZU. She is devoted to Slovene dialectology, especially the study of the endangered Torre Valley dialect and the Natisone Valley and Collio dialects of the Littoral dialect group. Within this, she is particularly interested in the problems of linguistic contact between unrelated languages, i.e. between the West Slovenian dialects and their Romance neighbours. Recently, he has also focused on sociolinguistic issues in language contact, such as the relationship between identity(ies) and language(s) in multilingual societies. He is involved in the preparation of the Slovenian Linguistic Atlas.
In the years from 2010 to 2021, she was the head of the Research Station ZRC SAZU in Nova Gorica. In 2019 and 2020, she completed a four-month training at the University of Padua in Italy. Since 2017 she has been a member of the Slovenian-Italian Commission for the inscription of the Brda / Collio / Cuei region in the UNESCO list of cultural heritage. At the Faculty of Humanities of the University of Nova Gorica she teaches dialectology and sociolinguistics.