Editor and moderator: Ivan MilenkovićTime: Wednesday, 1st November, 8:00 p.mVenue: Belgrade Youth Center, hall in front of the Amerikana Hall
Panel Discussion with Guests after the Screening of the Film: CLUB ZERO
PARTICIPANTS: Jasminka Petrović (Writer), Dejan Ilić (Publisher, Columnist, and Education Theorist), Ana Pejović (Cultural Theorist).
A totalitarian language assumes a mixture of rationality and emotional manipulation. Initially presenting a rational argument about how eating less leads to better health – in this instance, employing argumentation akin to tabloid reporting – the professor of nutrition resorted to emotional manipulation with elements of a thug’s technique. First, a collectivist framework was activated, stating that if you’re not with us, then you’re against us, and then a threat was issued to the boy who refused to conform to the collectivist framework by rejecting his scholarship. Thus, a mold was introduced into the game that only acknowledges organic unity, where even the few rational arguments that served as bait for initial conquest are discarded.
However, if it is possible to recognize the professor as a religious fanatic, and if it’s easy to categorize the school principal as one of the bureaucrats who don’t think too much, where to place the parents? Is class distinction relevant in this matter (only the pressured boy has a monetary concern), or is it a more complex mechanism where the collectivist spirit outweighs common sense? Is it and how is it possible to oppose totalitarian languages that easily cloak themselves in any ideological rhetoric (health, saving the planet, freedom)? Does the language of totalitarian regimes differ in any way from the language and practices employed by the professor of nutrition? How is it possible, and is it possible at all, to establish an educational system that will produce self-aware citizens, at least according to the old Enlightenment concepts that saw education as a barrier against religious and political delusions? Ultimately, is the danger of learning history through nationalistic-right-wing frameworks as perilous as the case of the professor of nutrition?
These are just some of the questions raised by Jessica Hausner’s film, and they will be addressed by Jasminka Petrović, a writer, Dejan Ilić, a publisher, columnist, and education theorist, and Ana Pejović, a sociologist and education theorist.