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Center for Intercultural Studies

The Center for Intercultural Studies at Saint Louis University is dedicated to comprehensive, systemic and interdisciplinary research on intercultural relations.

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Since its founding in 2011, the center has published several volumes of studies on interculturality, created a worldwide network of collaborating scholars in the field, hosted visiting scholars, and sponsored global conferences.

What is Interculturality?

Interculturality occurs in the space between two or more distinct cultural groups that encounter each other. It is an area where meaning is translated and difference is negotiated. Intercultural studies is a new and fast-growing academic discipline, much in demand across the world.

If an academic discipline were to be constructed around the Catholic and Jesuit educational principle of "preparing men and women to be for and with others," it would look very much like intercultural studies.

Recent Publications

Faculty members in the Center for Intercultural Studies are consistently producing publications relevant to the field. 

Perspectives on Interculturality: The Construction of Meaning in Relationships of Difference

Perspectives on Interculturality: The Construction of Meaning in Relationships of Difference. Michal Jan Rozbicki, Editor. New York: Palgrave-Macmillan, 2015.

The intercultural occurs in the space between two or more distinct cultures that encounter each other, an area where meanings are translated and difference is negotiated. In this volume, scholars from diverse disciplines reflect on the phenomenon of interculturality and on the theoretical and methodological frameworks of interpreting it.

Cross-Cultural History and the Domestication of Otherness

Cross-Cultural History and the Domestication of Otherness. Michal Jan Rozbicki and George O. Ndege, Editors. New York: Palgrave-Macmillan, 2015.

This book 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.

Charity in Jewish, Christian, and Islamic Traditions

Charity in Jewish, Christian, and Islamic Traditions, Julia R. Lieberman and Michal Jan Rozbicki, Editors. Lanham: Lexington Books, 2017.

This collection of essays by a team of international scholars addresses the topic of Charity through the lenses of the three Abrahamic religions: Judaism, Christianity and Islam. The contributors look for common paradigms in the ways the three faiths address the needs of the poor and the needy in their respective societies, and reflect on the interrelatedness of such practices among the three religions. They ask how the three traditions deal with the distribution of wealth, in the recognition that not all members of a given society have equal access to it, and in the relationship of charity to the inheritance systems and family structures. They reveal systemic patterns that are similar--norms, virtue, theological validations, exclusionary rules, private responsibility to society--issues that have implications for intercultural and interfaith understanding. Conversely, the essays inquire how the three faiths differ in their understanding of poverty, wealth, and justifications for charity.

Why Intercultural Studies?

In an often divided and conflicted world, the need to promote a deeper and more effective understanding of the intercultural process is one of the most urgent challenges facing humanity. It has immense implications for policy, law, and global engagement, as well as academic scholarship in a wide spectrum of disciplines.

Exploring intercultural relationships such as difference, dialogue, coexistence, hybridity, pluralism, and cultural transfers enables us to open up new areas of knowledge, just as looking at ourselves through the eyes of a stranger allows us to become aware of how our own culture shapes the meaning of reality for us and awakens our capacity to deal with otherness.