Intercultural Communication

Course Website for Tunghai FLLD Seminar

Archive for October, 2005

Two “fun” sites related to culture and identity

Posted by thuicc on October 24, 2005

I came across two websites recently that are sort of related to culture and identity. The first site is You can go to this site and take a “geographic personality test“. I’m not sure what it’s supposed to tell you, except that they claim to be able to tell you what geographic location (city) would best suit your personality. Well, try it, but don’t take it too seriously.

The other website is called “ALL LOOK SAME“. At the top of the page is a “quiz” to take–it shows you pictures of different East Asian people (ordinary Koreans, Japanese, and Chinese) and asks you to identify their nationality based on their picture. See if you can get a good score on this. (I only identified 7 correctly out of 18.) Of course, someone could do the same with Euro-Americans and Europeans, I imagine. I don’t think I’d be able to tell a German from an Italian just by looking at a face. So…

Posted in Asia, identity, United States, websites | 4 Comments »

Identity: self-ascribed vs. ascribed

Posted by thuicc on October 13, 2005

Here’s a link to Jane Pizzolato’s website where she discusses the contrasts between how she identifies herself and her ascribed identity. (More on this later…)

Posted in identity, websites | Comments Off on Identity: self-ascribed vs. ascribed

Lotsa responses

Posted by thuicc on October 6, 2005

Here are the responses I made–and some I didn’t get to–in today’s class discussion.

  • Most people got the idea (which I think is true) that Althen has a somewhat “white” view of what Americans are like. He argues in another part of his book that “The predominant ideas, values, and behaviors of “mainstream” Americans are those of the white middle class. People in that category have long held the large majority of the country’s most influential positions. They have been the political and business leaders, the university presidents, scientists, journalists, and novelists who have successfully exerted influence on the society. American culture as talked about in this book, then, has been strongly influenced by white middle-class males.” (xxiv) So he’d argue that what he’s describing is the mainstream of the U.S.
  • As people said, the “Communication Patterns” article gives us a view that while (if Althen is correct) white middle-class males might represent the mainstream, there are a lot of other kinds of groups with different values and practices. Jen used the term “multiple generalizations” to describe the article. As Erica mentioned, there’s a shift between the contrast of Americans with the “outside” world in Althen to looking at contrasts within the U.S. in the “CP” article.
  • As I mentioned, to be fair to Althen, his book contains more than just the chapter on communication styles. But one thing he doesn’t do in his chapter on race and ethnic relations is try to account for racial/ethnic factors that might affect communication styles. (I’ll put this book in the dept library later)
  • Regarding a comment by Evonne about Asian Americans (I think) use of eye contact: what might account for the differences you mention between the article’s description of Asian Americans avoiding eye contact for too long and what you describe as your view that it’s important to look at speakers of elders while they’re talking? (How/where did you learn that it’s polite to do this? I’m thinking of how we might try to figure out what might account for the difference you see.) Ceilia suggested, for instance, that the “experts” who wrote the article might have been coming from the “outside” of the culture, so would see things differently. She also mentioned that the experts might learn things from other experts. (There are a lot of things we could say about that…)
  • Stephanie suggests that Althen is writing with “a pretty high ego” when he describes Americans. What might give you that sense? Any particular passage you could point to?

OK–I could comment a lot more, but this post is already too long! I’ll have more to say later in the semester. (Jennifer’s comment has me thinking about something related to face, for instance…)

Posted in cultural classifications, cultural patterns, identity, race, stereotyping, United States, whiteness | 9 Comments »

Two “old” posts about ethnicity and communication styles

Posted by thuicc on October 6, 2005

Too old (er… two old) posts about ethnicity and communication styles from a previous ICC class. Take a look:

  • Ethnicity and “American” and “Chinese” Communication Styles–in this post I asked my fellow interculturalists from last year “Why do people often equate European American communication styles and American communication styles?” Or, to put it less politely, why do the Americans described in American Ways sound so “white”? And they gave lots of answers… (There’s even some mention regarding the eye contact issue.)
  • Representing American Culture–in this post, I summarized some ideas about why American culture seems to be represented as the same thing as “white” culture, including the idea of “white privilege”…

Posted in cultural classifications, cultural patterns, whiteness | 3 Comments »

Comments about Althen and the “Communication Patterns” article

Posted by thuicc on October 1, 2005

Remember to read “Communication Patterns and Assumptions of Differing Cultural Groups in the United States” and post your comments on how this text changes the view of “typical” American communication styles described in Althen’s book. (Due Oct. 4)

Posted in course admin, cultural classifications, cultural patterns | 16 Comments »