Sommier, Roiha & Lahti: Implementing Critical Approaches to Interculturality in Higher Education

Guest Posts
Implementing Critical Approaches to Interculturality in Higher Education.
Guest post by Mélodine Sommier, Anssi Roiha & Malgorzata Lahti.

Critical approaches to interculturality have gained visibility over the years, both within and outside of academia. And yet, the increasing drive across European hHigher eEducation institutions to implement internationalization strategies is often articulated around assuming traditional notions of culture, diversity, and intercultural communication. This gap between critical research in interculturality and concrete implementation of intercultural education is what drove us to ask colleagues how they put critical approaches to interculturality into practice.

Indeed, inviting critical interculturality into classrooms is a holistic process that takes time since it asks teachers to familiarize themselves with that approach as well as to depart from the limitations of traditional pedagogical frameworks.

Download the entire post as a PDF.

Key Concept 107: Interculturality

Key Concepts in ICDThe next issue of Key Concepts in intercultural Dialogue is now available. This is KC107: Interculturality by Mélodine Sommier & Malgorzata Lahti. As always, all Key Concepts are available as free PDFs; just click on the thumbnail to download.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.

KC107 InterculturalitySommier, M., & Lahti, M. (2023). Interculturality. Key Concepts in Intercultural Dialogue, 107. Available from: https://centerforinterculturaldialogue.files.wordpress.com/2022/01/kc107-interculturality.pdf

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. 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.


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

Mélodine Sommier Profile

ProfilesMélodine Sommier is currently working as an Academy of Finland Research Fellow at the University of Jyväskylä, Finland. She received her Ph.D. in 2016 for work on representations of secularism as part of the French national imaginary in newspaper texts.

Melodine Sommier

Mélodine’s research interests cover a variety of themes related to intercultural communication, media representations, race and racism, migration, sustainability, and education. Within the field of intercultural communication, her work concentrates on the use of culture as a discursive and an interactional resource. She mostly relies on critical and discursive approaches to examine the construction of cultural realities and outcomes regarding the (re)production of difference. Her research project on ‘racial landscapes’ (2022-2027) focuses on the way race and racism materialize in everyday urban spaces across Europe in ways that contribute to (re)produce and contest existing discourses and processes of racialization.

Mélodine is co-founder of the Intercultural Communication & Diversity division at the Netherlands-Flanders Communication Association (NeFCA) which she co-chaired between 2018-2022. She is the chair of the Intercultural and International Communication division at the European Communication Research and Education Association (ECREA) and a board member of the Society for the Study of Ethnic Relations and International Migration (ETMU).

Selected publications:

Sommier, M., Roiha, A., & Lahti, M. (Eds.) (2023). Interculturality in higher education: Putting critical approaches into practice. London: Routledge.

Sommier, M. (2022). Race et espace: La ville comme lieu d’étude des représentations raciales [Race and space: Exploring racial representations in the city]. Itinéraires: Littérature, Textes, Cultures, 2021(3).

Sommier, M., Wang, Y., & Vasques, A. (2022). Transformative, interdisciplinary and intercultural learning for developing HEI students’ sustainability-oriented competences: A case study. Environment, Development and Sustainability.

Sommier, M., Lahti, M., & Roiha, A. (Eds.) (2021). From ‘intercultural-washing’ to meaningful intercultural education: Revisiting higher education practice. (Special issue). Journal of Praxis in Higher Education, 3(2).

Galy-Badenas, F., & Sommier, M. (2021). “A baby bump for women’s rights”: Analysing local and international media coverage of Jacinda Ardern’s pregnancy. Feminist Media Studies.

Sommier, M. (2020). “How ELSE are you supposed to dress up like a Black Guy??”: Negotiating accusations of Blackface in online newspaper comments. Ethnic and Racial Studies, 43(16), 57–75.


Work for CID:
Mélodine Sommier is the co-author of KC107: Interculturality and of a Guest Post on Implementing Critical Approaches to Interculturality in Higher Education.

CFP From ‘Intercultural-Washing’ to Meaningful Intercultural Education

“PublicationCall for Papers: From ‘intercultural-washing’ to meaningful intercultural education: Revisiting teaching practices in tertiary education. Deadline for abstracts: 30 June 2020.

Guest editors: Mélodine Sommier (Erasmus University Rotterdam, the Netherlands), Anssi Roiha (HU University of Applied Sciences Utrecht, the Netherlands) and Malgorzata Lahti (University of Jyväskylä, Finland).

This special issue in the Journal of Praxis in Higher Education intends to provide a forum in which to address the difficulties and opportunities that arise in tertiary education when revisiting intercultural teaching practices. It therefore calls for papers that provide theoretical as well as practical insights into the implementation of critical approaches to intercultural communication.

Suggested topics include, but are not limited to:
· Incorporating critical approaches to intercultural communication in teaching materials and/or ICT;
· Learners’ experiences of intercultural education and/or expectations of intercultural communication;
· Difficulties faced by teachers in developing new understandings of intercultural communication;
·  Critical approaches to intercultural communication in specific subjects;
·  Tertiary education policies and ‘intercultural-washing’ approaches; and
·  Intercultural education in supervision and mentoring.

Please note that the editors also welcome book reviews on the topic of critical intercultural education at tertiary level.

CFP Expressions of Race & Racism Online (Finland)

ConferencesCFP: Expressions of race and racism online. This working group is part of the 14th Society for the Study of Ethnic Relations and International Migration (ETMU) Conference on Race, Power and Mobilities (October 26-27, 2017), University of Jyväskylä, Finland.

The long-lasting idea that dematerialized online presence would downplay racial issues is vanishing as studies are increasingly showing the extent to which race is embedded in online structures, vocabulary, and users’ practices (Daniels, 2012). Though much research has been conducted on representations of race in traditional media, few studies have investigated expressions of race and racism in online and social media, and their findings underline the complexity of the topic (Sommier, van Sterkenburg, & Hofhuis, in press).

This working group therefore calls for papers tackling online expressions of race and racism to further understand associated strategies, tensions, and outcomes. Current findings point to a wide range of dialectics that should be further explored. Studies urge for holistic approaches (e.g. Titley, 2014) to attend to the interplay between colorblind and blatant racism, individual and structural aspects, local and global discourses, and traditional and social media. These broad research areas include, but are not limited to:

– users’ online practices, identity formation and social interactions (e.g. Hughey, 2008)
– the creation of racial digital divides (e.g. boyd, 2013)
– strategies used to disguise online racist discourses (e.g. Sharma & Brooker, 2016)
– methodological challenges associated with the study of expressions of race and racism in online settings

*** Important dates and practicalities ***

• Deadline for submission: August 31, 2017
• Notification of acceptance: September 15, 2017
• Registration starts September 15, 2017
• ETMU Days October 26–27, 2017

Submit your abstracts of 300–400 words directly to the working group organizer, Mélodine Sommier.

%d bloggers like this: