Communication Queer Intercultural Communication
by
Shinsuke Eguchi
  • LAST MODIFIED: 28 August 2019
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199756841-0234

Introduction

Intercultural communication, originating in the United States, has extensively focused on differences of communication styles, processes, and problems between sociocultural groups for a long time. This course of study reproduces and reconstitutes a nationalistic binary paradigm of US Americans versus others. It generalizes cultural differences of communication. The assumption of styles in the United States re-centers and re-secures white, cismale, heterosexual, and affluent. At the same time, the conception and operation of others are generally non-US American, cismale, heterosexual, and affluent. In so doing, the field of intercultural communication tends to ignore, erase, and/or marginalize differences such as race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, class, and the body. US domestic racial minorities such as African Americans, Arab and Middle Eastern Americans, Asian Pacific Islander Americans, Latinx Americans, and Native Americans are often overlooked, for example. In order to counter this erasure, intersecting genealogies of queer of color critique, global queer studies, transgender studies, and disability studies largely influence the current state of queer intercultural communication.

Overviews

To disrupt this circumference of theory and research, critical intercultural communication, outlined in Nakayama and Halualani 2010, brings into the fore complexities and contradictions of differences in and across local, national, and global contexts. Simultaneously, sexuality has not been a major focus. It remains as a part of critical intercultural communication. Accordingly, Chávez 2013a calls for examining critical connections among the politics of sexuality, culture, and globalization in the special issue of Journal of International and Intercultural Communication quarterly published by the National Communication Association’s (NCA). Chávez names this field of inquiry as queer intercultural communication. By queer, she means historically marginalized knowledge(s) of sexuality that destabilize the normative sets of identity, discourse, structure, and institution. Then, Eguchi and Asante 2016 follows up on the advocacy posited in Chávez 2013a by calling to transnationalize queer intercultural communication in International Communication Association’s (ICA) journal Communication Theory. The visibility of queer intercultural communication as a field of inquiry is relatively recent phenomenon in the discipline. However, while Chávez 2013a glosses over the “queer” discussions in Nakayama and Halualani 2010, there have been a number of works in the field of communication that deal with both queer and intercultural. For example, Alexander 2010 examines the author’s embodied experience as a black/African American gay cismale instructor in the university classroom. Calafell 2007a showcases the author’s everyday struggle as a Chicana queer cisfemale instructor. Calafell 2007b also uses a queer lens to theorize Latina/o performance. Carrillo Rowe 2008 examines intercultural divisiveness among the feminists rooted in the politics of difference. Lee 2003 exemplifies localized Taiwan’s gendered and sexual knowledge(s). Martinez 2003 articulates the author’s everyday life experience as a lesbian ciswoman of color. Nakayama 1994 examines the mediated production of heterosexual masculinity. Nakayama and Corey 2003 critiques the heteronormative production of academic knowledge. These works have not been widely recognized as intercultural communication scholarships because of the “queer” components. It is important to recognize the legacy of such genealogy impacts on the current state of queer intercultural communication. It politicizes, historicizes, and contextualizes complexities and fluidities of sexuality in and across the lines of differences such as race, ethnicity, gender, sex, class, nationality, empire, language, coloniality, and/or the body. In particular, fronting the queer is an intellectual and political strategy to destabilize dominant ideas, social relations, and knowledge embedded in the material realities of sexuality in and across intercultural interactions, relations, and contexts. Simultaneously, this field of inquiry is to seek alternative ways of knowing, being, and acting that counter the majoritarian belongings rooted in the technology of heteronormativity intersecting with whiteness, patriarchy, cisgenderism, and capitalism.

  • Alexander, B. K. 2010. Br(other) in the classroom: Testimony, reflection, and cultural negotiation. In The handbook of critical intercultural communication. Edited by T. K. Nakayama and R. T. Halualani, 364–381. Chichester, UK: Wiley-Blackwell.

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    Showcases how a black/African American gay cismale instructor negotiates his intersectionality of race, gender, and sexuality in the university classroom.

  • Calafell, B. M. 2007a. Mentoring and love: An open letter. Cultural Studies <=> Critical Methodologies 7.4: 425–441.

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    Demonstrates a critical, performative, and autoethnographic approach to mentoring in and across cultures. Shares her struggle as a Chicana queer cisfemale instructor to work in the university rooted in whiteness, patriarchy, and heterosexism as the normative logics of its institution.

  • Calafell, B. M. 2007b. Latina/o communication studies: Theorizing performance. Critical Intercultural Communication Series. New York: Peter Lang.

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    Uses a queer lens to interrogate aspects of Latina/o performance as a cultural identity and space.

  • Carrillo Rowe, A. 2008. Power lines: On the subject of feminist alliances. Durham, NC: Duke Univ. Press.

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    Examines how feminists negotiate differences such as race, ethnicity, sexuality, nationality, and class to develop the intercultural alliances. Pays careful attention to how underlying power relations produce intercultural divisiveness among the feminists.

  • Chávez, K. R. 2013a. Pushing boundaries: Queer intercultural communication. Journal of International and Intercultural Communication 6.2: 83–95.

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    Argues for the need to forefront queer studies to examine the politics of sexuality, culture, and globalization. So, the circumference of critical intercultural communication will be expanded.

  • Eguchi, S., and G. Asante. 2016. Disidentifications revisited: Queer(y)ing intercultural communication theory. Communication Theory 26.2: 171–189.

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    Exemplifies how queer intercultural communication may be studied in two transnational spaces and locations, that is, Asian Japanese queer male and black Ghanaian queer male.

  • Lee, W. 2003. Kuaering queer theory: My autocritography and a race-conscious womanist, transnational turn. In Queer theory and communication: From disciplining queers to queering the discipline(s). Edited by G. A. Yep, K. E. Lovaas and J. P. Elia, 147–170. Binghamton, NY: Harrington Park Press.

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    Calls to transnationalize a critical race and womanist approach to queer theory by exemplifying tensions of knowledge(s) between localized Taiwan and globalization. Calls out how queer theory centralizes knowledge(s) associated with white, cismale, and affluent.

  • Martinez, J. M. 2003. Racisms, heterosexisms, and identities: A Semiotic phenomenology of self-understanding. In Queer theory and communication: From disciplining queers to queering the discipline(s). Edited by G. A. Yep, K. E. Lovaas and J. P. Elia, 109–127. Binghamton, NY: Harrington Park Press.

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    Uses a semiotic phenomenology to call out how queer theory overlooks the contributions of lesbian of color to its theoretical developments. Rearticulates how lesbians of color have been historically vital to push the boundaries of queer theory rooted in whiteness as the normative logics of liberalism.

  • Nakayama, T. K. 1994. Show/down time: ‘Race,’ gender, sexuality, and popular culture. Critical Studies in Media Communication 11.2: 162–179.

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    Demonstrates how the US popular culture reproduces and reconstitutes heterosexual masculinity through an analysis of white and Asian men represented in Showdown in Little Tokyo.

  • Nakayama, T. K. and F. C. Corey. 2003. Nextext. In Queer theory and communication: From disciplining queers to queering the discipline(s). Edited by G. A. Yep, K. E. Lovaas, and J. P. Elia, 319–334. Binghamton, NY: Harrington Park Press.

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    Identifies with and critiques how the productions of academic knowledge are surveilled, disciplined, and controlled by existing power relations such as heteronormativity, patriarchy, and whiteness. Knowledge(s), particularly pertaining to sexual minoritarians, are marginalized.

  • Nakayama, T. K., and R. T. Halualani, eds. 2010. Handbook of critical intercultural communication. Chichester, UK: Wiley-Blackwell.

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    Showcases the questions, critiques, and practices of diversity and difference in and across local, national, and global contexts.

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