Following a very successful and stimulating event in July 2020, this new webinar represents another contribution to reflecting on current issues in the teaching of interculturality in higher education, especially in relation to the COVID-19 crisis. New speakers were invited to share their views and reflections for this session (Australia, China, Finland, The Netherlands). Organised by Fred Dervin (University of Helsinki, Finland), Andreas Jacobsson (Karlstad University, Sweden) and Mei Yuan (Minzu University of China)
Interculturality is taught in institutions of higher education around the world under different guises (intercultural communication, intercultural encounters, global competence, etc.) and in different fields (language, teacher education, health care, business, etc.). The accelerated internationalization that these institutions have experienced for the last decades has also contributed to the popularity of courses around the notion of interculturality. What scholars note about such courses is that the ideologies, theoretical frameworks and methods used for teaching interculturality are many and varied. Furthermore, those who teach interculturality are not always specialists and they can struggle with different kinds of perspectives, paradigms, ideologies, methods…
Many argue that the COVID-19 crisis will have an influence on our lives for the years/decades (?) to come. As far as interculturality is concerned, the crisis has led to very violent acts of xenophobia, Sinophobia, blatant nationalism but also aggressive (systemic) racism and discrimination. At the same time, some of these have been counterbalanced a little by people standing up against them.
Will these have an influence on the way we see interculturality from a higher education perspective, especially on what we teach, from what perspective(s) and how? Is it time for (real) change, beyond the polarization of culturalist/essentialist and postmodern ideologies, in intercultural communication education?