Mangano, M. F. (2018). Relationship as a space “in between”: A transcultural and transdisciplinary approach mediated by dialogue in academic teaching. Bergamo, Italy: University of Bergamo Press.
What is special and uncommon about Maria Flora Mangano’s research is her clear focus on dialogue as a space of relationship. Often intercultural dialogue has been viewed as occurring at the global, international level, typically involving politicians. Maria Flora is one of a very few scholars to become interested in how intercultural dialogues occur within face-to-face interactions, thus at a more personal level. Dialogue more easily develops among those who have already succeeded in establishing a relationship, rather than between strangers.
The metaphor of creating a social space in which dialogue can occur is not unique to Maria Flora, but it is uniquely appropriate to her concerns. The data which form the body of the project demonstrate praxis – in this case, her actual teaching experience, where she creates a space of relationship in the classroom, permitting dialogue to occur. This should encourage others to follow where she has led, since sufficient details are provided which others can immediately use.
In sum, Maria Flora Mangano not only studies dialogue, she demonstrates it in a way others can easily follow. And her theoretical argument clearly explains why they should do so. As the conclusion suggests: “dialogue needs relationship to be realized, and, at the same time, dialogue creates relationship” (p. xiv). May we all learn to create a space for dialogue in our relationships.
Maria Flora Mangano has frequently been mentioned on this site, contributing a number of publications (Key Concepts in Intercultural Dialogue, 81 on dialogue as a space of relationship, Constructing Intercultural Dialogues, 2 on reconciliation, and CICD 9 on intercultural dialogue as an activity of daily living), translations into Italian (KC1, KC14, KC37, KC81, CICD 2), and guest posts (A space of relationship for dialogue among cultures, and Example of dialogue among cultures).
NOTE: This post is a shortened version of my Foreword to this book, appearing on pp. v-vi.
Hippler, J., & Kamali-Chirani, F. (2018). Cultural civil war. In European Union National Institutes for Culture, Culture Report: EUNIC Yearbook 2017/2018 (pp. 36-41). Stuttgart, Germany: European Union National Institutes for Culture.
Brief overview provided by the authors:
For a long time, Europe and the United States have presented themselves through “Western values” such as liberalism, liberty, and democracy; nevertheless, currently they are in a state of what can be described as cultural civil war. On one hand stands US President, Donald Trump, who proudly applies the “America first” policy. On the other hand stands Brexit, which demonstrates the rise of populism and Euroscepticism in the UK. At the same time, governments in Poland and Hungary are cultivating extreme nationalist discourses, again with strong xenophobic elements and anti-Muslim hysteria. Remarkably, there has also been a weakening of the independence of the courts, restricting freedom of expression, and aiming for a kind of democracy controlled from above. In France, the Netherlands, Austria, Germany, and Italy there has been a rise of right-wing populist movements doing well at the polls. Such trends are not specific to the West alone. Putin, Erdoğan, and Duterte are part of the right-wing populism that has emerged on every continent. We have to accept that today we are going through a cultural civil war. Jochen Hippler and Fatemeh Kamali-Chirani argue in their article that this war is not being fought with weapons but in people’s minds at the grassroots of society, online, on radio and TV, and in print media. They also present solutions for how to win this war by dealing with the causes of the breakdown of the political culture in the West, and by going on the offensive culturally, in order to re-conquer the hill of cultural hegemony.
The 11 short films produced by the Translation and Translanguaging TLANG team provide a teaching and research resource in the areas of multilingualism, superdiversity, and sociolinguistics. They also document engagement approaches with different stakeholders. Those investigating linguistic and social diversity, migration, translation and translanguaging, may find them particularly useful. TLANG was a major research project active 2014-18; its aim was to understand how people communicate across diverse languages and cultures.
Voices of the Bullring Markets : This video provides an introduction to the superdiverse nature of the Bullring meat and fish markets in Birmingham.
The Library of Birmingham : This video provides an account of language and interaction at the Library of Birmingham.
Communication in the Multilingual City: This film of the final TLANG conference contains discussions about translanguaging and offers a range of interpretations.
Translanguaging and the Arts: A Creative Conversation: This film explores researchers, artist and creative practitioners working together to represent multilingualism and superdiversity in new and engaging ways.
Overcoming Barriers to University Education in South Africa: Highlights from workshops held in South Africa to engage university lecturers and managers in discussions about translanguaging as pedagogy in higher education in South Africa, and the role of South Africa’s official languages in university classrooms.
Researching Translanguaging Summer School: Scholars from all over the world attended this summer school which explored different conceptualisations of translanguaging and methodological approaches for researching linguistic diversity.
Women & Theatre: The TLANG team collaborated with a creative company, ‘Women and Theatre’, who produced an original piece of theatre in response to their engagement with the research project. The show was performed 22 times in four cities, to enthusiastic and appreciative audiences.
A Network Assembly I: This captures how a range of different stakeholders including policy makers, councillors, museum curators, local business people, artists, academics and students engage with concepts such as superdiversity, translanguaging and multilingualism.
Changing Lives: This film shows the work of a Chinese community Centre and provides an account of how the lives of people visiting the centre are changing.
Team Work in the City: This film shows the coaching practices of a volleyball coach communicating with volleyball players from different countries around the world.
Crossing Borders: Translanguaging as Social Practice.This short film captures our partnership with a range of stakeholders including artists, policy makers, academics and community activists around the themes of language, superdiversity, sport and law.
Here’s the most recent article I’m reading, in case it’s also of interest to others:
O’Sullivan, Feargus. (21 August 2018). Discovering that strangers aren’t all that strange. CityLab.
“Taking a class with a diverse group of Londoners helped me see the city and my neighbors in an altogether different light….We also got to imagine what it was like in each other’s shoes…Every day in a city, we brush past people with different backgrounds and outlooks from our own. To sit with each other and really focus hard on expressing and understanding each other’s experiences, however, that’s something completely different…I didn’t discover a specific space as such; the shift for me has been more about an attitude of openness.”
The new UNESCO Intercultural Dialogue eLearning Platform was described in a prior post. Now, my essay entitled Holding Local, Not Global, Intercultural Dialogues has just been posted to that ePlatform. Their invitation was to write about something in my own domain of expertise. Because my research has always focused on interaction, I wrote about the need to study intercultural dialogue at the interpersonal, local level rather than only the political, global level, as is more common. As an example, I used research about intercultural weddings, published in Wedding as Text: Communicating Cultural Identities Through Ritual, in 2002.
The E-Platform is open to other scholars with interests in intercultural dialogue. As they say, “The platform is an evolving global hub of resources and information to record, inspire, share and exchange innovative and impactful action on intercultural dialogue among diverse audiences.” So contact them directly if you would like to post information about your own or your organization’s activities and/or research.
Wendy Leeds-Hurwitz, Director
Center for Intercultural Dialogue
UNESCO has created an e-platform for intercultural dialogue. It is designed to be “a global collaborative hub” intended “to promote good practices from all over the world, that enable to build bridges between people from diverse backgrounds in order to create more inclusive societies through mutual understanding and respect for diversity.”
One major section presents short explanations of about 2 dozen relevant core concepts, from intercultural dialogue to cultural identity to intercultural citizenship. These will be particularly familiar to all those who have previously read Intercultural Competences: A conceptual and operational framework from 2013, which I drafted for UNESCO (with many contributions by others named in the notes), as they all come directly from that publication. The new e-platform describes that booklet as “A comprehensive reference publication on the basic terminology needed in order to develop intercultural competences and to permit intercultural dialogue, as well as outlining a series of minimally necessary steps to take in sharing this knowledge with the largest number of others, across the greatest selection of contexts, possible.”
Another major section provides a wide range of resources documenting best practices for a wide range of topics, from awareness raising to advocacy, from celebrating diversity to capacity building, and from research to policy advice. CID publications have been submitted to be added to the list. This section is open to contributions from anyone who is doing relevant work and wants it noted. (Just click on the “Login/Registration” button on the top right of any page.)
Wendy Leeds-Hurwitz, Director
Center for Intercultural Dialogue
After several years of task forces on internationalizing communication, and a special issue of Spectra entitled The Communication Discipline Goes Global, the National Communication Association has now produced a brochure entitled Internationalizing the Communication Discipline. It likely will be useful primarily for those already convinced of the need, who want help in convincing colleagues and administrators.
A related prior resource available on the NCA website is a set of pages describing internationalization, which I prepared for them in 2011. All of the photos provided then have been removed or replaced, and the content has been revised to include specific recommendations from the 2013 task force on internationalization, on which I served. Here’s the introduction, explaining the topic, goals, and audience:
“Internationalization is about taking the rest of the world seriously, not only one’s home country, and can be thought of as the formal term for thinking globally before acting locally. It requires knowing enough about the larger world to act appropriately in a specific context and location, especially when interacting with cultural others. Internationalization is relevant for citizens of all countries, but the following comments are primarily intended for those based in the United States, where internationalization is still often viewed as an option. Internationalization applies to all domains and contexts, but these comments emphasize higher education.”
Wendy Leeds-Hurwitz, Director
Center for Intercultural Dialogue
For anyone who needs to tell a story online, the following news may be relevant:
Pixar has partnered with the online alternative learning resource Khan Academy to provide free lessons on digital storytelling, in a new course called The Art of Storytelling. This is presented as part of a series entitled Pixar in a Box, intended to share information about how Pixar develops its films. Earlier sequences cover topics such as Animation and Simulation.
Jeffrey Beall, a librarian at the University of Colorado, Denver, maintains a list of potential, possible, or probable predatory scholarly open-access publishers. This is particularly important for new scholars who are not yet familiar with all the journals in their area and could inadvertently get caught in the net. He also maintains a list of journals publishing misleading metrics, naming companies that “calculate” and publish counterfeit impact factors (or some similar measure) to publishers, metrics the publishers then use in their websites and spam email to trick scholars into thinking their journals have legitimate impact factors. Finally, he is now maintaining a list of hijacked journals, those for which someone has created a counterfeit website, stealing the journal’s identity and soliciting articles submissions using the author-pays model (gold open-access).
As explained by Inside Higher Ed, Beall’s List was shut down as of January 15, 2017, after this post was created, reportedly in response to “threats and politics.” However, a cached version of predatory publishers is still available, as are a cached version of the standalone journals, and a cached version of the hijacked journals.