Key Concept #11: Intercultural Discourse and Communication Translated into Chinese

Key Concepts in ICDContinuing with translations of the Key Concepts in Intercultural Dialogue, today I am posting KC#11: Intercultural Discourse and Communication, which Leila Monaghan first published in English in 2014, and which Yan Qiu has now translated into Simplified Chinese. As always, all Key Concepts are available as free PDFs; just click on the thumbnail to download. Lists of Key Concepts organized chronologically by publication date and number, alphabetically by concept, and by languages into which they have been translated, are available, as is a page of acknowledgments with the names of all authors, translators, and reviewers.

KC 11 Intercultural Discourse and Communication_Chinese-simMonaghan, L. (2017). Intercultural discourse and communication [Simplified Chinese]. (Y. Qiu, Trans). Key Concepts in Intercultural Dialogue, 11. Available from:

If you are interested in translating one of the Key Concepts, please contact me for approval first because dozens are currently in process. As always, if there is a concept you think should be written up as one of the Key Concepts, whether in English or any other language, propose it. If you are new to CID, please provide a brief resume. This opportunity is open to masters students and above, on the assumption that some familiarity with academic conventions generally, and discussion of intercultural dialogue specifically, are useful.

Wendy Leeds-Hurwitz, Director
Center for Intercultural Dialogue

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Constructing Intercultural Dialogues #5: Intercultural Dialogue and Deaf HIV/AIDS

Constructing ICD #7Following the recent announcement of a new series to be published by the Center for Intercultural Dialogue, the fifth issue of Constructing intercultural Dialogues is now available. The goal is to provide concrete examples of how actual people have managed to organize and hold intercultural dialogues, so that others may be inspired to do the same. As with the continuing CID series, Key Concepts in Intercultural Dialogue, these may be downloaded for free. Click on the thumbnail to download the PDF.

CICD 5 MonaghanMonaghan, L. (2017). Intercultural dialogue and Deaf HIV/AIDS. Constructing Intercultural Dialogues, 5. Available from:

If you have a case study you would like to share, send an email to the series editor, Wendy Leeds-Hurwitz.

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Intercultural Challenges of the Deaf HIV/AIDS Epidemic

Intercultural Challenges of the Deaf HIV/AIDS Epidemic
Guest Post by Leila Monaghan

I grew up in New York and worked in the theatre industry in the 1980s. The profound impact of the AIDS epidemic was clear. Death was everywhere. When I returned to school to study Deaf culture I learned of the impact of AIDS on the Deaf community. One of my fellow students at the Gallaudet 1988 summer program was Gene Bourquin, part of the early Gay Men’s Health Crisis buddy network providing support for people with AIDS across New York City. From him I learned how the city’s flourishing gay Deaf community had been massively impacted. He shared the story of an isolated Deaf man in the Bronx he had worked with, his first buddy and one of the earliest to die.

By 2003, I had my PhD and had finished an edited collection, Many Ways to be Deaf. While editing this volume of ethnographic studies of international Deaf communities, I realized that Gene’s experiences with the scourge of HIV/AIDS were not unique. Deaf communities from the US to Africa to Asia were struggling to disseminate information, protect people, and care for the sick. This led to a book co-edited with my colleague Constanze Schmaling, a scholar of Hausa Sign Language, HIV/AIDS and Deaf Communities, and ongoing intercultural dialogue, sometimes successful, sometimes failed, on the topic of HIV/AIDS and Deaf communities.

I have learned so much from my Deaf colleagues, including my co-authors Deborah Karp and Mark Byrd, and activists including Michel Turgeon and Don Pilling of the remarkable Coalition Sida des Sourds du Québec, and John Meletse of South Africa. My colleagues have shared with me stories of friends dying unsure of why they were so ill, the problems so many Deaf people have interacting with systems built on languages they don’t understand, and the lack of attention to and funding of Deaf issues. My main roles have been publicist, organizer, and intermediary, trying to get officials and attendees of the biennial international AIDS conference to understand how the disease has an unusually deadly impact on Deaf communities.

I presented a poster about Deaf HIV rates in the United States at AIDS 2006 in Toronto, presenting data on how US Deaf people were twice as likely to be HIV+ as their hearing counterparts. There I met Michel and Donald Pilling from CSSQ and Deborah Karp from the Maryland Deaf AIDS Project. We organized an informal press conference. While there is often distance between Deaf groups and Disability Rights groups, everyone came together to discuss the issues around the lack of recognition of the Deaf and Disabled communities within the larger fight against AIDS.

For AIDS 2008 in Mexico City, I organized a Deaf and Disability Pride Zone in the community village and various other events including panels and a press conference. I also lobbied for interpreters. Many people unacquainted with Deaf culture do not understand the practices and needs of professional interpreters.  Although two interpreters fluent in Spanish, Mexican Sign Language (LSM), and American Sign Language (ASL) were hired for the conference, they were hired at the last minute and then subjected to grueling conditions.

For AIDS 2010 in Vienna, Jill Hanass-Hancock took over organizing the Disability Zone and I continued to organize Deaf outreach and lobby for interpreters. Because the official languages of the conference were English and Russian (part of an outreach to Eastern Bloc countries because of Russian bans on discussing AIDS), British Sign Language and Russian Sign Language interpreters were hired—languages that no one at the conference was actually using. It took a week of lobbying to get Austrian Sign Language interpreting for the one official Deaf outreach event.

AIDS 2012 in Washington DC presented different challenges and an opportunity was missed to do a Deaf oriented mini-conference at Gallaudet University despite months of lobbying. I was not able to attend AIDS 2014 in Australia or AIDS 2016 in South Africa. I know of no Deaf presence in Melbourne but was delighted to see that Nkosinathi Freddy Ndlovu lead a Deaf outreach in Durban.

Language creates the world as we know it. Successful dialogue shifts the world into new places. While the dialogue has not always been successful, I have learned much from my Deaf colleagues and some of this information is now part of the larger discourse at the international AIDS meetings. Deaf discourse is visual and depends upon understanding not only understanding distinct sign languages, in this case ranging from American Sign Language to British Sign Language, from Russian Sign Language to South African Sign Language, but also the logistics of space and movement involved with communicating in any sign language. Learning the requirements of communication is the first step to communicating ideas and needs.

There is still so much work to be done on the issue of HIV/AIDS in Deaf communities. My colleagues and I continue to try to bring awareness to the issue. Next stop is the AIDS 2018 conference in Amsterdam!

Leila Monaghan Researcher Profile

Leila MonaghanLeila Monaghan (Ph.D., UCLA) teaches linguistic and cultural anthropology at Northern Arizona University.  Her research interests are broad and include the history of Deaf communities, the impact of HIV/AIDS, the narrative construction of disability, and the role of Native women in the Plains Indian Wars. Co-edited books include Many Ways to be Deaf, and Barriers and Belonging: Personal Narratives of Disability. She is also editor of the new journal Language, Culture and History.

Selected publications:

Jarman, M., Monaghan, L., & Harkin, A. Q. (Eds.). (2017). Barriers and belonging: Personal narratives of disability. Philadelphia: Temple University Press.

Monaghan, L. (2012) Perspectives on intercultural communication and discourse. In C.B. Paulston, S. Kiesling & E. Rangel (Eds.), Handbook of intercultural discourse and communication (pp. 19-36). Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell.

Monaghan, L. F., Schmaling, C., Nakamura, K., & Turner, G. H. (Eds.). (2003). Many ways to be deaf: International variation in Deaf communities. Washington, DC: Gallaudet University Press.

Monaghan, L., Goodman, J., & Robinson, J.M. (Eds.). (2012). A cultural approach to interpersonal communication: Essential readings. Malden, MA: Wiley/Blackwell.
Senghas, R.J., &  Monaghan, L. (2002) Signs of their times: Deaf communities and the culture of language. Annual Review of Anthropology, 31(1), 69-97.



Key Concepts #11: Intercultural Discourse & Communication

Key Concepts in ICDThe next issue of Key Concepts in intercultural Dialogue is now available. Click on the thumbnail to download the PDF. Lists organized  chronologically by publication date and numberalphabetically by concept in English, and by languages into which they have been translated, are available, as is a page of acknowledgments with the names of all authors, translators, and reviewers.

kc11-smMonaghan, L. (2014). Intercultural discourse and communication. Key Concepts in Intercultural Dialogue, 11. Available from:

The Center for Intercultural Dialogue publishes a series of short briefs describing Key Concepts in intercultural Dialogue. Different people, working in different countries and disciplines, use different vocabulary to describe their interests, yet these terms overlap. Our goal is to provide some of the assumptions and history attached to each concept for those unfamiliar with it. As there are other concepts you would like to see included, send an email to the series editor, Wendy Leeds-Hurwitz. If there are concepts you would like to prepare, provide a brief explanation of why you think the concept is central to the study of intercultural dialogue, and why you are the obvious person to write up that concept.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.