Intercultural Communication

Course Website for Tunghai FLLD Seminar

Archive for September, 2005

More about the study of nonverbal communication in ICC

Posted by thuicc on September 29, 2005

Here is a web page about proxemics, which is defined as “the study of the human use of space within the context of culture.” The page mentions Edward T. Hall, author of several books about ICC, including The Silent Language, and the “father” of ICC.

There’s also an interview with Edward Hall here. He talks about how he developed his ideas about intercultural communication. Interesting stuff.

Posted in definitions, nonverbal communication, websites | Comments Off on More about the study of nonverbal communication in ICC

Definitions of ethnography

Posted by thuicc on September 29, 2005

For Tracy–and anyone else interested–here are some definitions of ethnography:

Hope these definitions help!

Posted in anthropology, definitions | Comments Off on Definitions of ethnography

Chinese-[insert ethnicity here] food

Posted by thuicc on September 29, 2005

An interesting article was published in the New York Times recently: “Craving Hyphenated Chinese” by Julia Moskin discusses the different varieties of Chinese food that are available in New York City. By “different varieties” I don’t mean just Cantonese or Sichuanese… I mean (and Moskin writes about) Chinese-Peruvian food, Chinese-Mexican food, and even Chinese-Norwegian food!

For example, Moskin describes a Chinese hot dog invented by Kevin Cohnen, the owner of a kosher Chinese restaurant. The Chinese hot dog consists of “a kosher beef frank encased in an eggroll wrapper and deep-fried. The result is crusty, incredibly juicy and excellent with hot mustard, either New York deli or Chinese style.” (There’s an image of that Chinese hot dog here.) Another example of a hybrid Chinese-[] food is a Chinese-Peruvian dish called Lomo saltado, which Moskin describes as “a savory stir-fry of beef, onions and tomatoes, seasoned with soy sauce” that “is sometimes served over French fries”.

As Moskin writes,

The roots of these hybrid Chinese cuisines around the world are the same as those of Chinese food in America. Millions of Chinese men, most of them from the province Guangdong (formerly known in English as Canton), left China in the late 19th and early 20th century. Only men were allowed to leave the country, often by becoming indentured workers to companies in need of cheap labor in the Caribbean, Southeast Asia and South America.Professional cooks were usually not among the emigrants, so the earliest Chinese restaurants outside China were started by men with little knowledge of cooking and a desperate need to improvise with local ingredients. The dishes they came up with, like chop suey, have long since been dismissed as “not Chinese” by scholars of the culture.

But Chinese food has never been quite what outsiders think it is.

“The term Chinese food represents an area four times larger than Western Europe and the eating habits of more than a billion people,” Mr. Kwan said. “You could say that there is really no such thing as Chinese food.”

Eugene Anderson, a professor of anthropology at the University of California, Riverside, and author of “The Food of China,” disagrees. “Chinese food is defined by a flavor principle of soy sauce, ginger, garlic and green onions” and methods including stir-frying and steaming, he said. “Once you get too far away from those rules, it is no longer Chinese.”

What do you think about the arguments of Anderson and Kwan? Is there such a thing as “pure’ Chinese food?

And (since we’re studying intercultural communication) how might this discussion of Chinese cuisine relate to how we might understand our own identities? Is it possible to identify Chinese people (or American people, or…) and Chinese (or American) communication by some sort of principle similar to Anderson’s “flavor principle”?

(article found via Mixed Media Watch, an interesting blog that discusses how the media represents mixed people)

Posted in Asia, cultural classifications, food | Comments Off on Chinese-[insert ethnicity here] food

A little experiment…

Posted by thuicc on September 22, 2005

Here’s a little experiment for my ICC students–and the students from Illinois College, too!

Take a look at the picture linked to below. Then write me an e-mail message in which you explain to me what you think the picture means or symbolizes.


  • Don’t think too much about this. Don’t spend too much time–just give me your first impression. There’s no “right” or “wrong” answer, really.
  • Don’t talk to your classmates or others about it.
  • Just write me (at benda [at] and tell me what you think the image represents. (And include your name in the e-mail message!)

Click here to see the image.

Posted in course admin | Comments Off on A little experiment…

Welcome to the students from Illinois College

Posted by thuicc on September 21, 2005

A big “welcome” to the students from Dr. Weiming Yao’s Intercultural Communication class at Illinois College. They’re adding their introductory messages to the “comments” section of the Self-introductions post below. Read ’em and say “hi”!

Posted in course admin | Comments Off on Welcome to the students from Illinois College

Focus Questions for “Culture and Communication”

Posted by thuicc on September 15, 2005

Again, your reading for next week is available online. It’s “Culture and Communication“. You can download it and print it out–if you have any trouble, let me know.

Here are the questions you should try to answer as you read:

  1. What are the main characteristics of the three perspectives on communication (rhetorical/dramatistic, transmission, and ritual) that Kim describes? What are the major differences among these three models of communication?
  2. What are the main characteristics of the notion of “culture”?
  3. Note the ways in which the ICC definition of culture makes use of the anthropological, psychological, ethnographic, and Cultural Studies definitions. Speculate on why it might be important to deal with these different understandings of the word “culture” when studying intercultural communication.
  4. Note the comparison/contrast of high and low culture. What kind of culture do we usually study in the FLLD?

Remember to write down your own questions, too. You can bring them up at the beginning of class next week.

Have a good weekend!

Posted in course admin, definitions | Comments Off on Focus Questions for “Culture and Communication”


Posted by thuicc on September 15, 2005

Take a minute to introduce yourself to us. Give us your name and write a little about your interest in intercultural communication. Do your plans for the future involve intercultural experiences? (For instance, do you plan to go abroad for graduate school, study western literature or language in grad school here, go into international business?)

Please do not leave your e-mail address in your comments. This is a public website and you don’t want to have a lot of people “spamming” you…

(Click on the “comments” link to respond.)

Posted in course admin | 35 Comments »

Welcome to Fall 2005 ICC students

Posted by thuicc on September 12, 2005

Welcome, fellow intercultural communicators. The course syllabus for this semester will be posted soon. Meanwhile, if you’re a student in this course, send me an e-mail at benda [at] so I can add you to the list of people who will be able to post messages to this website.

One of the participation requirements for this course will be be to post to this website with your thoughts, questions, etc. related to ICC. More on that soon.

You might be surprised at all the writing that’s below this post. Those are comments from previous ICC classes and from over the summer. I’ve decided to leave them up on the web. Take a look at them.

Also take a look at the syllabus–there’s a link on the right.

See you Thursday!

Posted in course admin | Comments Off on Welcome to Fall 2005 ICC students

Articles about the recent arrest of a foreign English teacher for drug dealing

Posted by thuicc on September 9, 2005

There are several articles that have been written about the recent arrest of Forand Mathieu James, a white Canadian kindergarten teacher in Taipei, for possession and dealing of drugs. The expatriate online magazine POTS has an editorial by David Frazier that argues that one of the important issues coming from this incident is foreigners’ rights in Taiwan. As Frazier puts it,

We should also remember that the wonderful livability of Taiwan is afforded by a general sense of goodwill on the part of most Taiwanese, not the law. Taiwanese law does not guarantee a tremendous number of rights for resident aliens: we are not allowed to own businesses or property under their own names; our dependents do not have the right to work; we are only allowed to work the one job specified by their work permit, not multiple jobs as in most developed countries; we have reduced privileges with banks, telecom accounts, drivers’ licenses, and banks; we cannot form labor unions; and there is no independent review in cases of deportation.

Given the fuzzy legality of most of Taiwan’s systems, a shift in attitude towards “foreign guests” is worrisome (and in fact some of my Taiwanese colleagues have told me they already sense such a shift coming out of the new nationalistic ideas promoted by the DPP). Taiwanese employers routinely tell foreign workers not to worry about work permits, but when there is a problem, the worker is deported while the employer pays a small fine. When the law and goodwill run up against each other, the law always wins.

Frazier expresses disappointment with foreigners who have tried to distance themselves from James. He feels the foreign community in Taiwan should band together to make sure that their rights are protected.

Michael Turton, on the other hand, argues that what is important is that the foreign teacher broke the law, and that what this person has done affects the rest of the foreign (particularly white) community in Taiwan. He concludes that

it is precisely because we recognize that we are a community that we have both the obligation and the responsibility to protect ourselves from thoughtless, self-centered individuals who threaten our livelihoods and position here by removing the protecting hand of that community from them, and withholding approval and support of their behavior.

Posted in conflict, stereotyping, Taiwan, websites | Comments Off on Articles about the recent arrest of a foreign English teacher for drug dealing