The Hall of Mirrors: Reflections on Cultural Belonging


Culture is not only a defining element of a society but also a natural attribute of a human being. While it manifests itself in a kaleidoscopic array of various elements, what makes it universal and therefore accessible is that common humanity, which bonds the seemingly unconnected elements. I argue that cultural belonging is navigated by individually recognized common humanity. Living in a space of multiple borderlands allows one to sculpt their own cultural belonging and identity. Not simple co-existence, but also, co-presence and actually, co-experience play an important role. While one can never become a “native speaker”, one certainly can be a “carrier of culture” able to offer the distilled cultural information needed to succeed in the global environment. This information is often in its purest form, stripped from various cultural and social restrictions imposed by the birthplace. Therefore the learned or acquired- language teacher becomes not only a carrier of that one particular culture but also a carrier of multi-cultures. This intercultural rather than multicultural belonging, which is already a reality of our times, can also be a powerful transformative agency for the twenty-first century. This paper will examine methods of engaging the “Other” in the multidisciplinary contemplative traditions, where the environment of hospitality and respect for others is created, whether it is people, objects or nature itself. I will also explore the possibilities of extending and applying the principles, styles, and methods of the contemplative practices beyond their traditional boundaries.

Author Information
Alexandre Avdulov, Saint Mary's University, Canada

Paper Information
Conference: ACCS2017
Stream: Cultural Studies

This paper is part of the ACCS2017 Conference Proceedings (View)
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon