Cultural encounters

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Encountering cultural encounters: Making connections & exploring differences Tonbridge, 23 June 2012
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Transcript of Cultural encounters

Cultural Encounters

Encountering cultural encounters: Making connections & exploring differences

Tonbridge, 23 June 2012

1What is culture?

Culture in Book 3:Were interested in two sorts of culture, the first of which is to examine artworks such as statues, short stories and plays, alongside different cultural records such as medical texts. The second sense of culture we consider is the expression of the ideas and identities of groups of people.

Danson Brown, 2008, p. vCultural EncountersCultural Encounters signals our focus on the ways in which cultures interact, overlap and are transformed by these encounters.

Danson Brown, 2008, Introduction, p. v

What sort of encounter?



(mis)understandingMr Sumarsono was now ready and he spoke. Please! he said politely. My mother looked up again and realized this time what he was doing. She shook her head, raising her hands in deprecation.No, no, she said, smiling. Not me. Dont take a picture of me. I wanted to see a picture of your wife. She pointed at Mr Sumarsono. Your wife, she said, your children.I was embarrassed not only for my mother but for poor Mr Sumarsono. Whatever he had expected from a country weekend in America, it could not have been a cramped attic room, two sullen girls, a voluble and incomprehensible hostess. I felt we had failed him . . . I wanted to save him . . . .I wanted to liberate poor Mr Sumarsono from this aerial grid of misunderstandings. . . .But things had changed. Mr Sumarsono stood gracefully, firm and erect, in charge. . . . The absence of strut did not mean an absence of command, and we now saw how an Indonesian diplomat behaved when he was in charge. . . . No, said Mr Sumarsono clearly. You wife. He bowed firmly at my mother. You children. He bowed at us.mis(understanding)But it is his picture of my mother that surprised me the most. Mr Sumarsonos portrait was of someone entirely different from the person I knew, though the face was the same. Looking at it gave me the same feeling that the sopped escalator did; a sense of dislocation, a sudden uncertainty about my own beliefs. . . . I could see for the first time that other people might think she actually was beautiful.Mr Sumarsonos view of my mother was of a glowing, self-assured, generous woman. And Mr Sumarsono himself was a real person, despite his meekness. I knew that; I had seen him take control. His view meant something; I could not ignore it. And I began to wonder.We still have the pictures. Mr Sumarsono brought them with him the next time he came out for the weekend.

Roxana Robinson, Mr Sumarsono, in Prescott, 2008, pp. 89-91





JokesOkay. A bunch of rafters are on the beach getting ready to sail off to Miami. . .So anyway a bunch of rafters are gathered there on the sand. And theyre all crying and hugging their wives and all the rafts are bobbing on the water and suddenly someone in the group yells, Hey! Look who goes there! And its Fidel in swimming trunks, carrying a raft on his back. . . .So one of the guys on the sand says to Fidel, Compatriota, what are you doing here? Whats with the raft? And Fidel sits on his raft and pushes off the shore and says, Im sick of this place too. Im going to Miami. So the other guys look at each other and say, Cono, compadre, if youre leaving, then theres no reason for us to go. Here, take my raft too, and get the f**k out of here. . . . Carlos laughed long and loud. Antonio laughed too, but he was careful not to laugh too hard and he gave his friend a sharp look over the racket he was causing. He and Carlos were Dominican, not Cuban, and they ate their same foods and played their same games, but Antonio knew they still didnt understand all the layers of hurt in the Cubans jokes.

Ana Menendez, In Cuba I was a German Shepherd, in Prescott, 2008, pp.22-23





UntransformedThis has nothing to do with me. Its about a young couple with three children who moved into a house on my route the first of last summer. I got to thinking about them again when I picked up last Sundays newspaper and found a picture of a young man whod been arrested down in San Francisco for killing his wife and her boyfriend with a baseball bat. . . .Henry Robinson is the name. Im a postman, a federal civil servant, and have been since 1947.

Raymond Carver, What do you do in San Francisco?, in Prescott, 2008, p. 65Sameness- allegiance


ViewpointWho is narrating?Whose encounter is this?



Making connections

Playing with connectionsCleopatraBeninShostakovichShort storiesPugin?


Jennie Osborn

Email: [email protected]