Listening to Underrepresented Voices

An update from the World Council working group on Bringing more Underrepresented Voices to Intercultural Competence Research and a call for contributions to an annotated bibliography project 

Hello, colleagues and friends in the World Council and beyond. Our working group would like to tell you about a project we have been working on. Over the past few months, our group came together  with the goal of opening spaces for and amplifying underrepresented voices in intercultural research. We soon decided, though, that the first step towards this goal needed to be a review of the “state of the field”—that is, what have these voices already contributed, whether we’ve been listening or not. Our first project as a working group has therefore been to construct an annotated bibliography that gathers and describes some of these contributions. Currently, we have 8 members from several different regions of the world. Hear some of our members describe the impetus for this project here.

Our process thus far has been to make individual contributions to a table in a Google Doc, listing each source along with certain details for each citation: topic/discipline, description/notes, and region. Strategies we have used to find sources to include have varied. Some of us use keyword searches by topic and region in scholarly indexes or library sites. Others peruse our physical bookshelves and digital drives for relevant literature, search through issues of specific journals that publish in this area, and mine anthologies, handbooks, and citation lists to discover relevant works to include or authors and topics to search further. Once the list began to take shape, we also looked for work from particular regions or cultural groups that seemed to be missing. 

As we worked as a team to construct this annotated bibliography, questions arose about what exactly we were looking for. How should we decide whether to list a publication? Thus, part of our process was to articulate detailed inclusion and exclusion criteria. We welcome feedback on our criteria, listed below.

Inclusion Criteria:

  • Brings underrepresented voices (defined as from underrepresented regions of the world, minoritized populations, non-dominant perspectives and ideologies, etc.) into the scholarly literature;
  • Explicitly related topically to intercultural competence and cognate fields (IC relations, IC communication, IC education and training, IC assessment, conflict resolution, peace studies, global management, multicultural studies, language and culture learning, international education);
  • Work from a critical perspective, regardless of the identity of authors, that ethically amplifies non-dominant epistemologies and ontologies and local knowledge;
  • Articles that critique—specifically with regard to intercultural interactions—the histories, systems, theoretical frameworks, or practices that colonize or suppress underrepresented voices; and
  • Publications in any language may be included (titles at least must be translated into English in the annotated bibliography; note whenever a source is available in multiple languages).

Exclusion Criteria:

  • The bulk of work in these fields that represents “dominant” ideologies, discourses, cultural perspectives, theoretical frameworks, social identities, and regions of the world;
  • Texts and media not in scholarly venues (e.g., popular music, blogs);
  • Work that represents underrepresented perspectives from an outsider’s perspective (e.g., anthropological study of an Indigenous population by a White scholar; “Nothing about us without us”); and 
  • Cultural, anthropological, or sociological studies of a single culture without emphasis on the intercultural.

Our next step in this project is sharing the annotated bibliography itself in order to invite collaboration and contributions from the wider community. To that end, we are facilitating a webinar. Hosted by our colleagues in the World Council working group on Intercultural Resources and sponsored by the Center of Intercultural Research and Practice at the University of Maryland Baltimore County, this interactive workshop will be held on Tuesday, the 23rd of March from 12:00 to 1:15pm EDT (UTC-4). Register here if you would like to attend. The webinar recording will be available afterward on the World Council site for those who cannot attend, but those who join us live will have a fun way to contribute their ideas via group discussions and a “jamboard” brainstorming session. With your help, we can make the working draft as robust as possible before we move on to “state of the field” analysis. 

Speaking of analysis, these are the research questions we propose to apply to the annotated bibliography in the coming months:

  1. What are the themes in what is there?
  2. What gaps are there, and what are some reasons for those gaps? (Who we are? What do we have access to? Whose voices do we make room for or give credibility to? etc.)
  3. What are the implications of these findings? Where do we go from here?

Once our analysis is complete, we plan to disseminate the finding in a variety of formats. One possibility is a formal scholarly literature review to be published in a peer-reviewed journal. A benefit of this approach is the potential impact on the academic literature. We are also very interested, however, in spreading word of this work in other more accessible ways, such as blogs, videos, infographics, and podcasts. Your ideas for format and dissemination platform would be most welcome.

Meanwhile, we would be very grateful for any contributions that you, our colleagues, might have to our working draft of the annotated bibliography. Please take a look at our Google Doc and see if you know of work we have missed that should be included according to the criteria above. We especially welcome work published in a variety of languages. Instructions for adding citations directly to the bibliography are located at the top of the Google Doc. You are also welcome to  email anything you think would be a good fit to one of our group members listed below. 

Thank you so much for your support in this project. We are excited to share the results soon. Meanwhile, we hope to see you in the upcoming webinar.

-the World Council working group on Bringing Underrepresented Voices to  Intercultural Competence Research

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