Fantasy and Intercultural Communication

I’ve always been a fan of Tolkien, Star Trek, and other stories of alternate worlds, and I like to think this is related to my interest in intercultural communication. Parasocial Contact Hypothesis (Schiappa, Gregg, & Hewes, 2005) would lead us to believe that learning vicariously about others (perhaps even fictional groups) can help us develop empathy for those different from ourselves. Here’s an interesting take on the Lord of the Rings characters and their cultural groups. Perception and cultural differences are highlighted here… perhaps food for thought (or discussion) about how we group humans?

 

http://io9.com/only-a-chemistry-student-would-organize-lord-of-the-rin-493562870

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UNESCO Report: “Intercultural Competences: Conceptual and Operational Framework”

In March, UNESCO released this framework on intercultural competence. It provides 26 concepts and defines them in order to connect different fields that focus on intercultural issues, giving a common vocabulary and goal in teaching, training, enacting, and supporting intercultural work.

http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0021/002197/219768e.pdf

British Council Study on the Value of Intercultural Skills

The British Council recently released a study on the value of intercultural skills in the workplace! I use studies like this at the start (and often end) of my class to get students interested in why they should care about and study intercultural communication.

http://www.britishcouncil.org/sites/default/files/documents/culture-at-work-research.pdf

Learning about Gender and Being Female

There is a consensus among scholars that gender is socially constructed, but there is a lot of variation in terms of how it is constructed, both across cultures and within cultures. This is an example of a mother who chose a particularly empowering construction of female identity to share with her daughter!

http://fstoplounge.com/2013/05/real-women-forget-the-disney-princesses/