"The importance of intercultural communication to scholars in Kairos cannot be understated. There is nothing more important than globalization."
Of course, working with the amazing scholars at Kairos and Computers and Composition, including both of you, is one reason why I was initially interested. But you know, increasingly, the importance of intercultural communication to scholars in these journals and in related fields cannot be understated. I often find myself saying there is nothing more important to technical communication, to rhetoric, and to composition, than globalization. Globalization has changed what we should teach and how we should teach it. Think about the impact of the ability to compose and quickly distribute information to global audiences. The rhetorical triangle itself—reader, writer, text—must now also include modality and location, because these five things now are inherently a component to every form of communication. It may not be a writer's intent to communicate to people on the other side of the world, but the malleability and remixing of that content by other authors means it's very likely that modality and location will eventually play a role. Content, package, deliver, feedback, repeat.
"We like to use the term 'friction points,' which are sort of like intercultural contact zones on steroids. They're communicative mismatches or problems which make stasis a challenge."
Like Kirk says, the statistics are telling, and the impact on teaching and learning follows. How should we change what we teach to accommodate electronic reading and writing access across the world? We need more perspectives on this, thinking through many different approaches.
For the last several years I've had the opportunity to teach global technical communication, and I've spent time in India and China working with students, teachers, and administrators. We like to use the term "friction points," which are sort of like intercultural contact zones on steroids. They're communicative mismatches or problems which make stasis a challenge. You know, in my department when we can't seem to find common ground or agreement on a specific issue or approach, stepping back and looking at what everyone is really arguing always, at least to me, provides insight. The reality is this, and it seems stupid saying it, but it's true: When people can't find common ground, it's likely that each viewpoint is correct, because different things are being argued. This extends exponentially when those in the conversation have different cultural values, but what and why people are arguing what they're arguing can be much more tacit or indirect. I've learned from Computers and Composition and Kairos my entire academic career. Discovering new models of friction points and how people can move forward productively by listening and understanding differences...those are the rhetorical situations I want to learn more about.
—webtext & interview by Gustav Verhulsdonck 2017