A new book, Cross-Cultural History and the Domestication of Otherness
(New York: Palgrave Macmillan), edited by SLU faculty members Michal Jan Rozbicki
and George O. Ndege
(History and the Center for Intercultural Studies) has been published in January 2012. Through case studies spanning Europe, America, Africa, and Asia, the volume illuminates our understanding of what happens when different cultures meet. Twelve cultural historians explore the mechanism and inner dynamic of such encounters, and demonstrate that while they often occur on the wave of global forces and influences, they only acquire meaning locally, where culture inherently resides. The authors shine a light into the nature of this process by showing that traditional, macro-scale frameworks of interpretation are too abstract and general to capture change caused by cross-cultural contacts, and that such change can come about only at the grassroots level because that is where the domestication of otherness takes place.
"If cross-cultural history is difficult to write, it has become imperative in the modern world. As many of the chapters in this fine book suggest, it is even more imperative for the history of Christianity where cross-cultural communication has existed from the earliest centuries ‘A.D.' and where that communication has multiplied exponentially in the last century and a half. This solid group of well-researched essays uses sophisticated categories like ‘agency,' ‘identity,' ‘conversion,' and ‘the other' well. Its case studies of intercultural communication among Western nations and between Western and Eastern regions offer unusual riches for historians, missiologists, theologians, anthropologists, and perhaps even diplomats."
-Mark A. Noll, Francis A. McAnaney Professor of History
University of Notre Dame
"This study probes a question central to contemporary historiography: What occurs when differing cultures meet? These case studies-drawing on early modern European, American, Asian, and African history-offer illuminating answers, especially about the hot topic of cross-cultural religious encounter."
-Gerald McKevitt, SJ, Ellacuria Professor of History
Santa Clara University
"Cross-Cultural History and the Domestication of Otherness
charts new scholarly territory. With chapters on Europe, Africa, Asia, and North America slicing across the centuries from the sixteenth to the twentieth, the book provides an alternative paradigm than domination/subjugation and object/subject categories to explain what happens at the interstices when two cultures meet and multi-level alterations take place to deal with the interaction (domestication of the other). Even the most seasoned scholars will find the theoretical introductory and concluding chapters constructive and inspiring to rethink their focus of study with new insights."
-Angelyn Dries, professor of Theological Studies
Danforth Chair in the Humanities, Saint Louis University