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Dialogue Theories

This 2013 book by Frances Sleap and Omer Sener aims to advance theoretical and practical engagement with dialogue by introducing the work of ten individuals who have made important and insightful contributions to thought in this area. The thinkers selected come from diverse fields, from religious studies and interfaith dialogue, through philosophy and social theory, to communication studies, public opinion analysis and even quantum physics.

DialogueTheories-coverA great deal of hope seems to be pinned on ‘dialogue’ in the contemporary world. The word is regularly raised in the context of a range of pressing issues, from the need for intercultural understanding in a globalised world, to the economic and ecological crises crying out for creative, collaborative responses, to the political process of policy and law-making at both national and international levels. Dialogue would thus seem to merit serious reflection and experimentation. The thinkers considered in this volume are among those who have afforded it this kind of attention.

This introduction to their work is intended to inform and inspire anyone with an interest in the meaning, value and potential of dialogue, particularly those engaged with dialogue in a professional, academic, voluntary or personal capacity. No background knowledge is assumed. It is hoped that in these pages readers will discover inspiring new thinkers to engage with, and perhaps new facets to more familiar thinkers. The book also includes discussion of a wide range of practical dialogue organisations and projects which may provide further food for thought and ideas for practice.

The thinkers introduced in the book are as follows:

  • Karen Armstrong, well known British writer on religion, former Roman Catholic nun
  • David Bohm, innovative physicist and dialogue pioneer
  • Martin Buber, Jewish philosopher/theologian/educationalist
  • Donal Carbaugh, Communication Studies professor
  • Fethullah Gulen, Turkish Islamic scholar and peace advocate
  • Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama
  • Jurgen Habermas, giant of social theory
  • Seyyed Hossein Nasr, Muslim intellectual
  • Maura O’Neill, author of two books specifically on women in interfaith dialogue
  • Daniel Yankelovich, leading American public opinion analyst and dialogue practitioner

The Dialogue Society website at www.dialoguesociety.org provides a preview of the book and a link to purchase a copy (£7.99)

About the authors and editor

Authors:
Frances Sleap studied Philosophy and Theology at the University of Oxford, graduating with first class honours. A master’s degree in the Study of Religions gave her the opportunity to explore religions other than Christianity, feeding her interest in interfaith and intercultural relations. Since joining the Dialogue Society in spring 2010 she has worked on a range of publications, including the Community Dialogue Manuals and a booklet on ‘Making Dialogue Effective’. Frances’s current work includes coordinating the Dialogue Society Success School for young people and contributing to the Dialogue School for students following the MA in Dialogue Studies.

Omer Sener is a researcher and freelance writer who holds a BA in American Literature and a PhD in Cultural Studies and Literary Criticism. His research interests include ethnicity, Asian American literature, and cultural narratives. He is particularly interested in intercultural dialogue and dialogue as an academic concept across disciplines. As a Research Fellow at the Dialogue Society, he has so far worked on a number of academic publications, such as Debating Multiculturalism I, and written articles on the theory and practice of dialogue on the Dialogue Society website.

Editor:
Paul Weller is Professor of Inter-Religious Relations at the University of Derby, where he is Head of Research and Commercial Development in the Faculty of Education, Health and Sciences. He is a Visiting Fellow in the Oxford Centre for Christianity and Culture at Regent’s Park College, University of Oxford and a founder and Trustee of the Multi-Faith Centre at the University of Derby. He is a member of the Advisory Board of the Dialogue Society and a Trustee of the Interreligiöse Arbeitsstelle in Germany. He was a founder member of the Joppa Group of Baptist Christians engaged in inter-faith dialogue and is currently a member of the Baptist Union of Great Britain’s Inter-Faith Working Group. On a European level he has been a consultant to Belieforama, a community of practice based around the development of a prize-winning training programme in religious diversity and anti-discrimination.

Resource Link: www.dialoguesociety.org/publications/academia/875-dialogue-theories.html

Submitted by Frances Sleap of The Dialogue Society via NCDD’s Add-a-Resource form.

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