Culture Crossing Essay

OTPIC Officially Retired

As of December 2, 2005, the Online Training Program on Intractable Conflict (OTPIC) has been officially retired, and is no longer open to new registrations.

The successor to OTPIC is a course called Dealing Constructively with Intractable Conflicts (DCIC). The new curriculum is built around one of our major projects, Beyond Intractability, and offers a much more extensive and informative set of learning materials than that available through OTPIC.

International Online Training Program On Intractable Conflict

Conflict Research Consortium, University of Colorado, USA

Cultural Barriers to Effective Communication

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Effective communication with people of different cultures is especially challenging. Cultures provide people with ways of thinking--ways of seeing, hearing, and interpreting the world. Thus the same words can mean different things to people from different cultures, even when they talk the "same" language. When the languages are different, and translation has to be used to communicate, the potential for misunderstandings increases.

Stella Ting-Toomey describes three ways in which culture interferes with effective cross-cultural understanding. First is what she calls "cognitive constraints." These are the frames of reference or world views that provide a backdrop that all new information is compared to or inserted into.

Second are "behavior constraints." Each culture has its own rules about proper behavior which affect verbal and nonverbal communication. Whether one looks the other person in the eye-or not; whether one says what one means overtly or talks around the issue; how close the people stand to each other when they are talking--all of these and many more are rules of politeness which differ from culture to culture.

Ting-Toomey's third factor is "emotional constraints." Different cultures regulate the display of emotion differently. Some cultures get very emotional when they are debating an issue.  They yell, they cry, they exhibit their anger, fear, frustration, and other feelings openly. Other cultures try to keep their emotions hidden, exhibiting or sharing only the "rational" or factual aspects of the situation.

All of these differences tend to lead to communication problems. If the people involved are not aware of the potential for such problems, they are even more likely to fall victim to them, although it takes more than awareness to overcome these problems and communicate effectively across cultures.

 

Links to Examples of this Problem:

Raymond Cohen--Negotiating Across Cultures: Communication Obstacles in International Diplomacy
Cohen examines the effects of cultural differences on international negotiations and diplomacy.
 
Raymond Cohen--Negotiating Across Cultures: Communication Obstacles in International Diplomacy (U.S. - India Diplomacy)
This essay (the three that follow) gives an example of the ideas Cohen discussed in the earlier article.
 
Raymond Cohen--Negotiating Across Cultures: Communication Obstacles in International Diplomacy (Cultural Differences)
(see Cohen, above)
 
Raymond Cohen--Negotiating Across Cultures: Communication Obstacles in International Diplomacy (The 1971 U.S. - Japan Monetary Crisis)
(see Cohen, above)
Raymond Cohen--Negotiating Across Cultures: Communication Obstacles in International Diplomacy (The Astoria Affair)
(see Cohen, above)
A Beginner's Guide to International Business Negotiation
This is a discussion of the cultural impact in a very different setting--international business negotiations.
Rethinking the Culture-Negotiation Link
This article reviews four different approaches to understanding the impact of culture on negotiation.
Managing Communication
This short piece illustrates that culture is a broader concept than nationality, language, or ethnicity-it can also refer to  professional roles which make people see the world differently from others.
 
**TOUR (Try 1st)**Andrea Williams - Resolving Conflict in a Multicultural Environment
This is an article which illustrates the way in which cultural differences can lead to misunderstandings.
 
Roger Fischer, Elizabeth Kopelman and Andrea Schneider - Explore Partisan Perceptions
This is a short but effective illustration of how people with different pre-dispositions can be   unaware of the possibility that others might see the same situation differently.
John Paul Lederach -- Building Peace, Introduction and Framework
This book, by an expert in cross-cultural issues discusses the interplay between culture and conflict.
 
Letty Cottin Pogrebin -- The Same and Different: Crossing Boundaries of Color, Culture, Sexual Preference, Disability and Age
This article explores the problems of and the adjustments that are required to forge cross-cultural friendships.

Links to Possible Treatments for this Problem:

**TOUR (Try 2nd)**Cross-Cultural Communication Strategies

Dialogue

Dialogic Listening

Active Listening

Training

 

Links to Related Problems:

Failure to Understand an Opponent's Perspective

Language Differences

**TOUR (Try 3rd) **   Differences in Values


Copyright �1998 Conflict Research Consortium  -- Contact: crc@colorado.edu

Articles

Peer-reviewed research articles on world history and global studies. We encourage articles seeking to bridge the divide between research and teaching, and between academe and the rest of the interested public.

British Children's Literature on Crimean War: Alfred Henty's Jack Archer: History of Crimea This essay is a part of our series, Literature and the World -- for more information, please see HERE. In this article the author analyses G. A. Henty’s Jack Archer: History of Crimea (1883) not only as read more »


Child Soldiers Revisited: Conscription and Choice in Ken Saro-Wiwa’s Sozaboy and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Half of a Yellow Sun This essay is a part of our series, Literature and the World -- for more information, please see HERE.                      Child soldier peripheralization in the Global South read more »


Can the Child Speak? Childhood in the Age of Nation-States, Children’s Rights, and the Role of Children’s Literature This essay is a part of our series, Literature and the World -- for more information, please see HERE. Short Title: Can the Child Speak? Key Words: childhood, children’s rights, children’s literature, read more »


Losing the “Middle Ground”: Conflict, Culture, and Civilization in the Southeastern Borderlands This essay is a part of our series, Borders in the Classroom -- for more information, please see HERE. On March 4, 1817, Andrew Jackson wrote a letter to President James Monroe that proposed a radical shift in read more »


Remnants, Relics and Shadows of Empires in the Gibraltar Region Gerry O’Reilly, St. Patrick’s College, Dublin City University, Ireland ABSTRACT This paper focuses on continuing impacts of ‘old’ empires and newer geopolitical players on unfolding histories in the Gibraltar region, especially narratives related to the British Overseas Territory of Gibraltar read more »


East German Artists as Political Refugees Abstract:  Analyses of refugees generally focus on political and ethnic refugees; this essay marks a bold departure by focusing on artists, a group that is generally acknowledged to be persecuted by totalitarian regimes, but does not often become the focus of academic research. For read more »


Abbot Suger’s Saint-Denis: A Study in Early Environmental Design Special Forum: Proceedings from the Nature and the Natural in the Middle Ages Conference, 2012 Kristin M. Barry Ph.D. candidate, Art History, Pennsylvania State University Abbot Suger’s choir at the Abbey Church of Saint-Denis is a re-occurring topic of discussion among read more »


The Burgos Casket: Translations of Secular and Sacred Power in Medieval Iberia Special Forum: Proceedings from the Nature and the Natural in the Middle Ages Conference, 2012 Andrea Recek PhD candidate, Musicology, University of North Texas In the eleventh and twelfth centuries, a vigorous exchange existed between Christians and Muslims read more »


A Journey through Sacred Space: Medieval Tree and Cross Symbolism in the Apse Mosaic and Floor of San Clemente in Rome Special Forum: Proceedings from the Nature and the Natural in the Middle Ages Conference, 2012 Joe Hartman PhD candidate, Art History, Southern Methodist University Introduction: Cross, Tree, and Vine read more »


Urban Water Supply in Roman Cities and its Impact on the West Special Forum: Proceedings from the Nature and the Natural in the Middle Ages Conference, 2012 Cecelia Feldman PhD, Archaeology, Brown University “Water, by furnishing not only drink but all our infinite necessities, provides its grateful utility as a read more »


When the Lion Lies Down with the Lapdog: Artists, Saints, Dogs and Men in Sixteenth-Century Germany Special Forum: Proceedings from the Nature and the Natural in the Middle Ages Conference, 2012 Miranda K. Metcalf MA student, Art History, University of Arizona Canines have been companions to humans for somewhere between read more »


Weaving the Wounds of Christ: Monastic Women’s Devotion and Tapestry Production in the Middle Ages Special Forum: Proceedings from the Nature and the Natural in the Middle Ages Conference, 2012 Kelly Bevin Butler PhD Student, Art History, Theory, and Criticism Design, Environment, and the Arts, Arizona State University      read more »


Mediating Medieval Medicine: Ecclesiastic Commentary through Visual Parodies of Pisse-Prophecy Special Forum: Proceedings from the Nature and the Natural in the Middle Ages Conference, 2012 Kristi Reese MA student, Art History, University of North Texas, Denton, TX Overtime, the discourse on the relationship between science and religion has filled lecture read more »


Special Forum: Proceedings from Northeastern University’s 2012 Graduate Student World History Conference on Empires and Technologies in World History The “Durbar Settlement” and the Union of South Africa: Railways and the Logic of Imperial Administration, 1905-1914 Short Title: The “Durbar Settlement” and the Union of South Africa Abstract: This paper read more »


Special Forum: Proceedings from Northeastern University’s 2012 Graduate Student World History Conference on Empires and Technologies in World History The Big Loaf and the First Opium War: Free Trade and Domestic Politics in the British Empire, 1813-1846 Short Title: The Big Loaf and the First Opium War Abstract:,This paper argues read more »


Special Forum: Proceedings from Northeastern University 2012 Graduate Student World History Conference on Empires and Technologies in World History Nos amis étrangères: French Feminism and Foreign Women Between the Wars Short Title: French Feminism and Foreign Women Between the Wars Abstract: Reviewing French feminist activities, writing, and journalism during the read more »


"My Address is the Soviet Union!": Supranational Selves in Transnational Ukraine This essay is a part of our series, Graduate Students and The Middle Ground Journal -- for more information, please see HERE. “I consider myself a Russian—well not a Russian, actually, but a Soviet . . . I am read more »


This essay is a part of our series, Borders in the Classroom -- for more information, please see HERE. The Socially Polysemantic Border: Positionality and the Meaning of the Fence Short Title: The Socially Polysemantic Border Abstract: This paper documents the experience of teaching college students how to rethink the read more »


This essay is a part of our series, Borders in the Classroom -- for more information, please see HERE. Narco-Trauma: The Phenomenology of the Mexican Drug War among Binational Students at the Border Short Title: Narco-Trauma at the border Abstract: In this article, I present research conducted among 242 university read more »


The three papers in this collection stem from a collaboration between the North American Taiwan Studies Association and The Middle Ground Journal. For background information on this continued collaboration, please see HERE . An important task of The Middle Ground Journal: World History and Global Studies is to serve as read more »


The three papers in this collection stem from a collaboration between the North American Taiwan Studies Association and The Middle Ground Journal. For background information on this continued collaboration, please see HERE . An important task of The Middle Ground Journal: World History and Global Studies is to serve as read more »


The three papers in this collection stem from a collaboration between the North American Taiwan Studies Association and The Middle Ground Journal. For background information on this continued collaboration, please see HERE . An important task of The Middle Ground Journal: World History and Global Studies is to serve as read more »


The Forgotten Generation of Muscat: Reconstructing Omani National Identity After the Zanzibar Revolution of 1964 After the East-African Afro-Shirazi party overthrew the Omani Sultanate in the Zanzibar revolution of 1964, some of the surviving Swahili-speaking Arabs returned to Oman’s capital city of Muscat to begin new lives.  This paper examines read more »


Abstract: This article examines how the legacy of early modern French cultural mores, colonialism, and Orientalism have shaped and reshaped popular culture like comic books and film and thus impacted public perceptions of Islamic populations, particularly those in France in the early years of the twenty first century. Using the read more »


Abstract: This article explores the cross-colonial cooperation employed by two subjugated groups, Javanese aristocrats and Bengali sepoys, to resist imperial authority of the British East India Company in early nineteenth-century Java. It focuses on colonial subjects perceiving a world that encompasses more than their colonial borders, and identifying a common read more »


Abstract This paper explores the learning and logistical outcomes of a history professor’s incorporation of a computer game into his curriculum; specifically, the introduction of the historically-themed game series Civilization IV in a university survey course on the History of the Ancient World.  The author, who had no experience working read more »


Introduction As European imperialism spread around the globe, following Iberian journeys to the Americas and Asia in the 1490s, occupants of these newly accessible lands encountered Christian missionaries in growing numbers. Christianity already existed in some of these places, while elsewhere people heard the Gospel for the first time. In read more »


Abstract: Educators’ content background and use of accurate, age-appropriate teaching materials generates quality teaching.  Content in every grade level should supplement content from previous grades in a spiraled format.  State test results on students’ math and reading indicate, but do not prove, the presence of these two presumptions.  Because history read more »


Abstract This study examines the relationship between two European powers : Nazi Germany and Great Britain and two main elements of the Palestinian Question before 1948: Zionism and Palestinian Nationalism. It explores German policy, particularly the Ha’arava Agreements, toward two major Palestinian crises that began in 1936. These crises were read more »


A key element of the Jesuit mission program on the frontiers of Spanish America was to recast the social structure, religion and world view, and work habits of the different native groups congregated on the missions. The goal was to create stable politically autonomous sedentary native communities on the model read more »


A Response to Edward L. Farmer's How Comparison Led Me to World History and Globalization Global networks of communication and personalized communication devices, their forms and capabilities changing and morphing almost, daily, have erased barriers of time and space that formerly separated us.  Physical borders still exist, national identities still read more »


In the early 1580s, the Mughal ruler Jalal al-Din Muhammad Akbar brought to his court scholars from many of the religious traditions followed in the Mughal Empire, building for them the Ibadat Khana (“House of Worship”), where they could discuss their beliefs and practices in front of the emperor. These read more »


Abstract In communist China, the return of eugenics, together with the one-child policy since the 1980s, was to reverse Mao Zedong’s policy of population expansion in order to supply manual labor for productivity. This article explores Chinese geneticists who survived the anti-Rightist campaigns and the Cultural Revolution, reinvented themselves and read more »


Traditionally, scholars of British initiative against slavery and the slave trade have focused more upon the Caribbean and the trans Atlantic slave trade but have devoted less attention to British endeavors in other non Western parts of the world.   For example, the historian Howard Temperley’s much cited book, British AntiSlavery, read more »


I was drawn to world history as a graduate student at the University of Minnesota where I had the great fortune of working with Professor Edward L. Farmer, an early innovator in the realm of comparative approaches to studying and teaching world history. I am forever indebted to Ted for read more »


Edward Farmer offered some very flattering views on my essay and my career, for which I am grateful. His comments are especially appreciated coming from a scholar of Farmer’s stature and accomplishments. In his interesting reflections on his own career and how he became a world historian Farmer reveals some read more »


ABSTRACT: In response to the theme of border crossing proposed by Professor Craig Lockard in his “Crossing Borders: Disciplines, Cultures and Histories,” the author considers her own intellectual and professional “border crossings” and suggests the theme of “middle ground” as a prompt for furthering world historical research, teaching, and professional read more »


Abstract: The Legacy of the Estado da India The Portuguese arrived in India in 1498; yet there are few apparent traces of their presence today, ‘colonialism’ being equated almost wholly with the English. Yet traces of Portugal linger ineradicably on the west coast; a possible basis for a cordial re-engagement read more »


Abstract: Events within a fifteen-year period in mid-eighth century Eurasia included the Abbasid revolution, An Lu-shan’s Rebellion in Tang China, and the collapse or emergence of empires from Frankish Europe to Tibet to the kingdom of Srivajaya. Rather than study these events in isolation, this paper views the interconnected peoples read more »


I have always loved a good biography, so Dr. Farmer’s “How Comparison Led Me to World History and Globalization” was a delight.  Having had a fairly convoluted career path myself, I appreciate a complex life with lots of twists and turns.  For one thing, it’s so historical.  And I especially read more »


This essay was inspired by Craig A. Lockard’s “Crossing Borders: Disciplines, Cultures, and Histories.” It reflects how the author’s perspective has changed over a career of university teaching and research in Chinese, Asian, and world history. It describes a comparative approach to the study and teaching of global history.   read more »


It is quite gratifying that my musings in the Last Lecture prompted the editors to seek responses from a few of my fellow world history teachers and scholars. I appreciate their mostly generous appraisals of my work and delighted that they found the essay thought-provoking enough to engage with some read more »


Edited by Jeanne E. Grant It was a pleasure to read Professor Lockard's essay and reflect on the central points of his "last lecture," Crossing Borders: Disciplines, Cultures, and Histories. It is wonderful that Paul Jentz and Liang Hong-Ming decided to request responses to Lockard's piece for inclusion in the read more »


Edited by Jeanne E. Grant  It was with great interest that I read Dr. Lockard's case for various kinds of border crossing as a means to facilitate student and faculty engagement in the world around them. As Lockard's career with one University of Wisconsin comprehensive university ends, mine has just read more »


The freedom to be lords of our own tiny skull-sized kingdoms, alone at the center of all creation. This kind of freedom has much to recommend it. But of course there are all different kinds of freedom, and the kind that is most precious you will not hear much talked read more »


We gratefully acknowledge the generosity of Professor Lockard, who not only contributed the keynote article for this roundtable, but also expended considerable time and energy responding to the other contributors. Professor Edward Farmer's equally generous and thoughtful article in response to Professor Lockard's essay will serve as the keynote to read more »


A Response to "Crossing Borders: Disciplines, Cultures, and Histories" by Dr. Craig A. Lockard, UWGB Dr. Lockard has provided us with much to ruminate not least of which is how to teach students of world history to navigate the border crossings he has outlined.  World history surveys involve teaching wide read more »


Based on the author’s long career as a university teacher and scholar, this essay discusses how interdisciplinarity, studying other cultures, and learning world history offer paths and insights to help us as teachers and our students to better understand the multicultural, globalized, and rapidly changing world we live in.      read more »


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