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Intercultural Communication Pedagogy and the Question of the Other

Wed, 03/23/2022
Registration deadline

Moray House School of Education and Sport, University of Edinburgh
United Kingdom

This International One-Day Research Seminar brings together world-renowned scholars from Education, Philosophy and from Intercultural Communication in questioning the role of ethics in Intercultural Communication Pedagogy. The seminar celebrates the launch of the Institute for Language Education.

Purpose of the research seminar

Recent years have witnessed an explosion of scholarly interest in the ethics of intercultural communication and their potential for reconceptualising the relation between self and other. Indeed, several researchers (see Nair-Venugopal, 2013 for a comprehensive overview) have produced numerous sets of normative principles for ethical intercultural conduct, arguing that the place of ethics in intercultural communication is most salient at the juncture where individuals interact with one another. Evanoff (2006) and Kim (2005) believe that such interaction leads to a wider view of human possibilities because it enables those individuals to create a hybrid identity from which to evaluate existing cultural traditions and values. Other researchers (e.g., Arnett, 2003; Ferri, 2018; Gerhke, 2010) focus attention on the most pre-original and non-synthesisable relation between self and other to propose a non-model of ethical intercultural communication that exceeds recognition of, or agreement with, another person. In their theses, however, these researchers also suggest that this non-model remains significantly under-theorised in the relevant intercultural communication literature, thereby calling for a deeper philosophical investigation into the question of otherness and its conceptual framings of ethical responsibility and responsive self.  

The purpose of this one-day international research seminar is to respond to this call. So, rather than effacing the dyadic self-other relation as is arguably the case in most intercultural communication scholarship, this seminar proposes to reconceptualise the ethical relation with the other as an irreducible alterity that interrupts the solitude of the knowing ego. To achieve this, it presents invited contributions that challenge the ideal of individual rational autonomy from which that ego emanates by arguing in favour of a non-intentional consciousness that places the self in an infinite relation of responsibility for the other. Since this relation cannot be considered without close attention to the broader purpose of education (see Biesta, 2015 for a discussion), this seminar also turns Biesta’s (2006) multidimensional question of ‘what education is for’ into ‘what intercultural communication pedagogy is for’ to address the following interrelated questions:

  1. What ontological and axiological assumptions does intercultural communication pedagogy make in its efforts to build social cohesion and peace across cultural divides? What is the problem, if any, with these assumptions? 
  2. What phenomenological non-words, concepts and theories may be used to reconceptualise the ethical relation between self and other in intercultural communication pedagogy? What transformative impact, if any, may these non-words, concepts and theories make on the practice of intercultural education so that it moves the dialogue with the other on without reaching a conclusion? 
  3. How might moving the dialogue with the other on in intercultural communication pedagogy generate possibilities for critical resistance to perceived injustice without resorting to grounded principles and norms to do so? What possible implications and tentative conclusions might social justice pedagogues and intercultural education policy makers draw from such dialogue? 


Arnett, R. C. (2003). The responsive “I”: Levinas’s derivative argument. Argumentation and Advocacy, 40, 39-50. 

Biesta, G.J.J. (2006). Beyond learning. Democratic education for a human future. Boulder: Paradigm Publishers. 

Biesta, G.J.J. (2015). What is education for? On good education, teacher judgement, and educational professionalism. European Journal of Education, 50(1), 75-87.  

Evanoff, R. (2006). Integration in intercultural ethics. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 30, 421-437. 

Ferri, G. (2018). Intercultural communication: Critical approaches and future challenges. London: Palgrave Macmillan. 

Gehrke, P. J. (2010). Being for the Other-to-the-Other: Justice and communication in Levinasian ethics. The Review of Communication, 10(1), 5-19. 

Kim, Y. Y. (2005). Adapting to a new culture: An integrative communication theory. In W. B. Gudykunst (Ed.), Theorising about intercultural communication (pp. 375-400). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. 

Nair-Venugopal, S. (2013). Introduction: The discourse of ethics and equity. Language and Intercultural Communication, 13(1), 1-9. 


Event organisers

Dr Maria Dasli and Dr Ashley Simpson


Professor Gert Biesta (University of Edinburgh)

Dr Giuliana Ferri (Brunel University, London)

Dr Katja Frimberger (University of Strathclyde, Glasgow)

Mr Itamar Manoff & Professor Claudia Ruitenberg (University of British Columbia)

Professor Michalinos Zembylas (Open University of Cyprus)


Schedule of events

8:30-9:00: Registration

9:00 - 9:20: Introducing Intercultural Communication Pedagogy and the Question of the Other: Dr Maria Dasli & Dr Ashley Simpson (University of Edinburgh)

9:20–10:10 Deterritorialising intercultural learning: embodied others and the ethics of difference. Dr Giuliana Ferri (Brunel University, London)

10:10–11:00 Returning to the Other, returning to Levinas: The impossibility of satisfaction in intercultural communication. Mr Itamar Manoff & Professor Claudia Ruitenberg (University of British Columbia)

11:00–11:30 Coffee break

11:30–12:20 The Affective Ideology of OECD Global and Intercultural Competences: Policy Implications for Critical Intercultural Communication Pedagogy. Professor Michalinos Zembylas (Open University of Cyprus)

12:20–13:10 Thinking the intercultural encounter as art: aesthetic emancipation and the fiction of autonomy. Dr Katja Frimberger (University of Strathclyde, Glasgow)

13:10–14:10 Lunch break

14:10–15:00 What if there is only communication? On pedagogy and disarmament without ethics and beyond culture. Professor Gert Biesta (University of Edinburgh)

15:00–15:50 Roundtable discussion

15:50–16:10 Concluding remarks. Dr Ashley Simpson & Dr Maria Dasli (University of Edinburgh)


Papers from the event will appear in a special issue of Pedagogy, Culture & Society.


Register here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/intercultural-communication-pedagogy-and-the-question-of-the-other-tickets-200953857397



Event organisers

Dr Maria Dasli and Dr Ashley Simpson
University of Edinburgh
Contact person
Dr Ashley Simpson
Contact person email address