Cultural Identity at Royal Roads University

Across August, September, and October of 2015, I taught a graduate seminar at Royal Roads University, located in Victoria, BC, Canada, as part of their Master of Arts in International and Intercultural Communication (MAIIC). The course was Contemporary Issues in Communication: Cultural Identity. The 38 students enrolled were quite international, as they came from China, Ecuador, Bangladesh, Barbados, and Canada.

On the last day of class, several students asked for photos, so here’s one, although not everyone was present at the time. Imagine another dozen added to the group.

IICS 638 class photo 2015

Students prepared small papers on their own linguistic repertoires, examined the ways in which living rooms can display cultural identity, prepared group presentations on case studies about cultural identity. Their major assignments were either applied group projects, or individual papers. The group projects included:

• Hosting an intercultural competence workshop for students in the Pre-Masters Program at RRU
• Designing a brochure for Hainan Drive Travel Association to give to Chinese tourists to Victoria
• Preparing a videotape in collaboration with Indigenous Education & Student Services at RRU about the Lklungen (Songhees) Nation for their own use in public presentations
• Preparing a videotape documenting differences between Chinese dialects for use in teaching Chinese to English speakers
• Creating pre-departure orientation materials for the Office of Global Advancement to use in preparing students, staff and faculty for a trip to Ecuador.

While at RRU, I was asked to participate in a public conversation, Communication Matters: Immigration from an Intercultural Communication Perspective. Dr. Juana Du, program head of the on-campus version of the MAIIC, served as host. Other participants were Lisa Selvey and Jingya (Celine) Yang, two students from the course. Follow the link to get to the video, which is now available on YouTube.

One of the highlights of my time at RRU was being able to watch Tom LaFortune carve a totem pole for the campus, and then attending the unveiling ceremony.

I posted last year about the beautiful campus, but this time I lived on campus, with peacocks in the front yard and deer in the backyard, a Japanese garden, and 650 acres of trails available for exploration. A few new photos follow. My thanks to Professor Du for inviting me to her beautiful campus to work with a fascinating group of students!

Wendy Leeds-Hurwitz, Director
Center for Intercultural Dialogue

p.s. In November, Crossroads, the RRU internal publication, just posted a notice about one of the student projects in the course.

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The ‘Problem’ of Intercultural Weddings

On October 21, 2014, I presented “Ambiguity as the Solution to the “Problem” of Intercultural Weddings,” at Royal Roads University, located in Victoria, BC, Canada, as one of two talks during a fall trip there to meet with students and faculty in their Master of Arts in International and Intercultural Communication (MAIIC). (Further information about that visit has already been posted to this site.) A videotape of excerpts from that talk is now available on the Center for Intercultural Dialogue’s YouTube channel. My thanks to the faculty for the invitation to visit, and to the technology department for videotaping the event.

Wendy Leeds-Hurwitz, Director
Center for Intercultural Dialogue

NCA 2014 in Chicago

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The National Communication Association 100th convention was held in Chicago November 20-23, 2014. I organized a panel entitled “Intellectual Genealogy: Documenting Invisible Colleges in the Age of Digital Communication” with Theresa Castor, Robert Craig, Jay Leighter, Jefferson Pooley, Michelle Scollo and Leah Wingard. In addition, I presented two papers. “Taking a (Meta)Communication Perspective to Intercultural Dialogue” (discussing the Key Concepts in Intercultural Dialogue) was part of the panel organized by Richard Buttny resulting from the Macau conference in spring, with Todd Sandel and Sunny Lie (from that event) and the added participation of Don Ellis; Cynthia Gordon was chair. “Bringing Intercultural Dialogue to the Center” was part of a panel of past chairs of the International and Intercultural Communication Division, organized by Alberto Gonzalez, and titled “Past Challenges, Present Victories.” A photo from that event is attached; the participants were (bottom row, from left): Mary Jane Collier, Wendy Leeds-Hurwitz, Young Yun Kim, Yolanta Drzewiecka, and (top row, from left): Benjamin Broome, Carley Dodd, Donal Carbaugh, and Alberto Gonzalez.

In addition, I met with several of the CID advisory board members (Donal Carbaugh, Todd Sandel, and Charles Self). And, as is always the great benefit of large conventions such as this, I caught up with literally dozens of people I know. Far too many to name, this group included not only everyone on any of my panels, but graduate school peers and former colleagues; large numbers of professional colleagues from various contexts, including prior conferences large and small; NCA officers past, present, and future; and even a colleague met in China attending his first NCA. I also caught up with my Villanova University colleagues from  last year, this year’s Harron Chair (Raymie McKerrow), several people considering applying for next year, and a former graduate student who was presenting a paper prepared for my seminar in Social Construction Theory. Perhaps my favorite part of going to such conventions is that I also always meet lots of new people. Unfortunately, only one other photo will have to represent all these connections: the second photo above shows me with Jing Yin  and Yoshitaka Miike.

Wendy Leeds-Hurwitz, Director
Center for Intercultural Dialogue

Case Studies in Intercultural Dialogue

Case Studies in ICD
The book Case Studies in Intercultural Dialogue has just been published by Kendall-Hunt. It is edited by Nazan Haydari and Prue Holmes. The book focuses on the important and under-investigated concept of intercultural dialogue. It draws on cases of intercultural communication in which there is a dialogue, conflict or misunderstanding, and presents approaches, theories, and analytical tools that can be used to productively understand and/or resolve the issues presented in each case study.

This edited collection covers a wide range of research topics drawn from peace building, arts and media, education, anthropology, new communication technologies organizational communication, and more. The format of Case Studies in Intercultural Dialogue encourages readers to engage in discussion from different perspectives through various methodological and theoretical approaches to problems, opportunities, and ethical issues of intercultural communication.

The collection had its genesis in the NCA Summer Conference on Intercultural Dialogue, held in Istanbul in 2009, with half the chapters resulting from that event, and the other half the result of an international call for proposals. The table of contents follows:

Introduction: Contextualizing ‘Intercultural Dialogue’ and the ‘Case Study’ by Nazan Haydari & Prue Holmes

Part I: Building Spaces for Dialogue
Facilitating Intercultural Dialogue Through Innovative Conference Design by Wendy Leeds-Hurwitz

Part II: Dialogue for Peace Building and Reconciliation
Community Driven Peacebuilding Approaches: The Case of Postgenocide Rwanda by Eddah Mbula Mutua
Dialogue across the Divide: Bridging the Separation in Cyprus by Benjamin Broome

Part III: Building Dialogue in / for Education
Multiculturalism, Contact Zones and the Political Core of Intercultural Education by Susana Gonçalves
Dialogue as a Common Ground between, across and beyond Cultures and Disciplines: A Case Study of Transcultural and Transdisciplinary Communication Lectures for Graduate and Undergraduate Students by Maria Flora Mangano
Developing Cosmopolitan Professional Identities: Engaging Australian and Hong Kong Trainee Teachers in Intercultural Conversations by Erika Hepple
Challenges in International Baccalaureate Students’ Intercultural Dialogue by Gertrud Tarp

Part IV: Building Dialogue through Arts and Media
Bollywood in the City: Can the Consumption of Bollywood Cinema Serve as a Conduit/ Site for Intercultural Discovery and Dialogue? by Ruma Sen
Storms, Lies & Silence: Beyond Dialogue-Based Models of Intercultural Contact by David Gunn

Part V: Building Dialogue in/ through Research
Anthropology as Intercultural Critique: Challenging the Singularity of Islamic Identity by Tabassum “Ruhi” Khan.
Community Autoethnography: A Critical Visceral Way of “Doing” Intercultural Relationships by Sandra L. Pensoneau-Conway, Satoshi Toyosaki, Sachiko Tankei-Aminian & Farshad Aminian-Tankei

Part VI: Building Dialogue in Everyday
The Voices of Hispanic Emerging Adults in New Mexico and Oklahoma by David Duty

Part VII: Building Dialogue at the Institutional / Organizational Level
“Why did it All Go so Horribly Wrong?”: Intercultural Conflict in an NGO in New Zealand by Prue Holmes
Leadership in Intercultural Dialogue: A Discursive Approach by Jolanta Aritz & Robyn C. Walker

Part VIII: Building Dialogue through New Information Technologies
Le Francais en (premiere) Ligne: Creating Contexts for Intercultural Dialogue in the Classroom by Christine Develotte & Wendy Leeds-Hurwitz
The Potential of Diasporic Discussion Forums for Intercultural Dialogue and Transcultural Communication: Case Studies in Moroccan and Turkish Diasporas in Germany by Çigdem Bozdağ

Royal Roads University visit

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On October 14, 2014 I presented “Intercultural Weddings and the Simultaneous Display of Multiple Identities” and on October 21, “Ambiguity as a Solution to the “Problem” of Intercultural Weddings,” both for Royal Roads University, located in Victoria, BC, Canada. The first talk was to the on-campus students in their Master of Arts in International and Intercultural Communication (MAIIC), as well as a group of visiting students from China, while the second was to the online students in MAIIC, present for their brief campus residency. RRU has the only masters program for intercultural communication in Canada, so this was a particularly appropriate campus for me to visit.

My thanks to all concerned: Dr. Matthew Heinz, Dean of the Faculty of Social and Applied Sciences, as well as a professor in the School of Communication and Culture and an intercultural communication scholar; Dr. Juana Du, director of the on-campus MAIIC; Dr. Zhenyi Li, director of the online MAIIC and founder of the degree; and Dr. Julia Jahansoozi, one of the faculty members in the program. In the near future, I will be posting researcher profiles as department members have time to send me information. In the meantime, it was fascinating to discover that I know scholars in common with all four as a result of my travels over the last few years, from the US, Hong Kong, Finland, and Estonia!

A few of the students will be completing various projects for CID over the next few months, and will have profiles posted for them as well. Their efforts will result in an expanded set of databases on intercultural topics, and better visual designs for the materials the CID produces.

RRU is housed on a particularly beautiful campus, including Hatley Castle (widely recognizable even to me as the site of the X-men films as well as other films and tv shows), a traditional Japanese garden, and peacocks wandering freely across the grounds. A few photos are included in this post of not only one of the talks but also the campus.

Wendy Leeds-Hurwitz, Director
Center for Intercultural Dialogue

Macau Roundtable on Intercultural Dialogue video

A short video documenting the Roundtable on Intercultural Dialogue held at the University of Macau on March 28-30, 2014, is now available. Briefly, the Roundtable was organized by the Departments of Communication and English at the University of Macau as well as by the Center for Intercultural Dialogue, and attended by a dozen participants, representing not only Macao, but also Hong Kong, mainland China, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia. The original post describing the Roundtable provides further details.

Università della Svizzera italiana 2014

WLH and PraxmarerFrom May 20-30, 2014, I had a wonderful invitation to stay in Cimo, Switzerland (a village just outside Lugano), with Peter Praxmarer, the executive director of the European Master in Intercultural Communication (EMICC), which is coordinated through the Università della Svizzera italiana (known in English as the University of Lugano). He also collaborates with, and teaches for, the Master of Advanced Studies in Intercultural Communication (MIC), as well as a number of other European universities.

My goal was to learn more about the EMICC, an intensive and international semester-long study of intercultural communication jointly offered by ten European universities since 2002. This program is a model of international collaboration for graduate education, and an innovative form of what in the USA is called “study abroad,” ensuring that students not only learn about intercultural communication at a theoretical level, but also practice it. We were able to discuss not only some of the logistics of this program, but also shared interests in intercultural communication more generally, as well as inventing future possibilities for collaboration.

While in Lugano, I was able to connect also with Prof. Bertil Cottier, Director of the Institute for Public Communication at USI. Trained as a lawyer, one of his current interests is in data protection and new technologies. As it turns out, the Institute will be conducting a search for a faculty member specializing in intercultural communication shortly – keep an eye on this website for the details.

I also met with Alexandra Stang, a graduate student at the University of Duisburg-Essen (in Germany) currently studying the Intercultural Campus platform, “an international university network created for intercultural learning.” She was in town to interview Peter Praxmarer, and took the opportunity to interview me as well.

Wendy Leeds-Hurwitz, Director
Center for Intercultural Dialogue

Bergamo (Italy) visit 2014

WLH_ManganoOn May 26, 2014, I was able to re-connect with Maria Flora Mangano, one of the participants in the NCA Summer Conference on Intercultural Dialogue, held in Istanbul, in 2009. We have kept in touch, as she has kept in touch with others from that event, but this is the first time we have had the opportunity to meet in person again. It took a bit of travel (I was coming in from Lugano, Switzerland, and she was coming from her home near Rome), but the conversation was worth the effort. Her work will be familiar to regular visitors to this website, as described in her post on A lesson dedicated to the genocide in Burundi: An occasion of dialogue as a space of relationship among cultures.” A chapter of hers is included in Case Studies in Intercultural Dialogue, currently in press with Kendall Hunt, and one of the results of the Istanbul conference.

Although Maria Flora already holds a PhD and has been teaching for many years now, she is currently pursuing further studies at the University of Bergamo, which is why we met there. Much of the University is located in the old city, Bergamo Alta, dating to Roman times, and many of the faculty are housed in historic buildings. This part of the city  is especially impressive, from the funicular ride up the hill on which it rests, to the grand views once you arrive. Many of Maria Flora’s classes are held in a former monastery in the lower city, with a stunning courtyard, also impressive.

Wendy Leeds-Hurwitz, Director
Center for Intercultural Dialogue

University of Turin 2014

WLH_GobboFrom May 14-17, 2014, I stopped in Turin, Italy to meet Professor Francesca Gobbo, recently retired from the University of Turin. In addition to talking about common interests in intercultural dialogue and classroom ethnography, I was able to connect with a number of her doctoral students. In fact, one of them, Federica Setti had just been awarded her PhD, and was gracious enough to include me and my husband in her celebration party (thanks again, Federica!). Another, Paola Giorgis, was in the process of preparing a post-doctoral fellowship application to EURIAS, and I was able to provide some advice, having served as one of their reviewers in the past. Rebecca Sansoé and Giorgia Peano were also in attendance that evening. Prof. Gobbo was particularly generous with her time, and we were able to fit in quite a bit of sightseeing around Turin during my visit, including their famous Egyptian museum.

Over the next few weeks, I will be posting researcher profiles as Prof. Gobbo and her doctoral students have time to send me information.

Wendy Leeds-Hurwitz, Director
Center for Intercultural Dialogue

The Netherlands 2014

Marieke de Mooij, Wendy Leeds-HurwitzOne of the great pleasures of directing the Center for Intercultural Dialogue is meeting people in person who I have only “met” previously online. A few days ago, I had the opportunity to meet Marieke de Mooij in person, at her home in The Netherlands. She graciously invited me and my 3 traveling companions to visit, fed us an excellent traditional lunch including a wide variety of smoked fishes and other seafood, and recommended which small towns to visit on the drive to and from Amsterdam.

A long-time consultant in cross-cultural communication, Marieke’s books on global marketing and advertising are used around the world. We talked generally about overlaps in our research interests, and especially about her newest book,  Human and Mediated Communication around the World: A Comprehensive Review and Analysis (Springer, 2014). One of her goals in the book is to recombine interaction and media as parts of the study of communication; another is to take a truly global perspective.

My thanks to Yoshi Miike for introducing us last fall!

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