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TOURISM DISCOURSE AND CULTURAL LITERACY: NEW CHALLENGES IN THE PANDEMIC ERA

T. Khomutova, M. Denisenko

South Ural State University (National Research University) (RUSSIAN FEDERATION)
The paper addresses the issue of cultural literacy education in the pandemic era. Cultural literacy is a manifold concept which refers to the ability to understand and participate fluently in a given culture. In this paper we focus on a cultural heritage aspect of this concept. Cultural heritage is defined as part of material and spiritual culture inherited from previous generations and passed on from generation to generation as something worthy of being valued, preserved and admired. We enhance the idea that cultural heritage literacy is closely connected with the notion of intellectual tourism discourse under which name we understand cultural and educational tourism discourse undertaken with the purpose to get acquainted with the cultural heritage of a certain locus. We apply an integral approach to describe intellectual tourism discourse as a distributed phenomenon – a fragment of knowledge of some cultural heritage items, a fragment of social space involving the participants in the process of communication and the social context, a fragment of culture with its cultural values, and a fragment of language verbalizing the said knowledge, social and cultural space. All the units of intellectual tourism discourse are interdependent and interrelated and are actualized in the process of communication. Because of closed borders in-person intellectual tourism per se in the pandemic era is dying out, thus cultural literacy decreases. We describe new tools to enhance cultural literacy through virtual tourism discourse in on-line multimedia encyclopedic dictionaries of cultural heritage. Such dictionaries are based on the “genius loci” principle which entails the influence of a certain locus on different national cultures and famous people and vice versa - the influence of famous people on the cultural image of that locus. Such dictionaries develop a comprehensive view of the cultural heritage of certain places and people, which allows intellectual tourists to travel virtually and thus improve their cultural literacy. In this paper we describe the general idea of such a dictionary, give an example of an entry, and develop the concept of intellectual tourism and cultural literacy education. We also describe the experience of application of such a dictionary to teaching lexicography, intercultural communication and tourism discourse for students in linguistics and tourism. In the end, we comment upon the insights gained from the research and its impact on the process of cultural literacy education.