Relationships between the macro- and micro-cultures that surround, inhabit, and shape us as human beings are an endlessly fascinating study, presenting a vast country to be explored. The following material—a collection of papers, handouts, and descriptions of short training exercises and long workshops—offers an introduction to that country, a way to move deeper into it, and, for those already living and working there, some new tools and perspectives that you may find helpful in guiding others. Welcome!


Culture is far more comprehensive than is usually imagined, providing the
furnature of our outward existence and the coloring of our inner hearts and
minds. Here’s a short working definition of something complex that affects all aspects of our lives whether we know it or not.

More about cultures and subcultures: what defines them, how they interact,
what happens when they clash, and the roles of norms and values, power,
history, and unconscious assumptions. How cultures overlap outside us
and within us, and a few thoughts about negotiating cultural differences.

Common and vitally important cultural differences in thinking and speaking
are contrasted here based on 60+ years of intercultural research. These
equally valid but opposite standpoints cause massive confusion between
well-meaning people at every level, from the individual to the international.
Seeing these differences is the first step toward bridging them.

Things may be too obvious to be seen or too unfamiliar. We may hide, or
others may hide us. The oppressed, the cautious, the strangely brilliant,
and the not-yet-named may all be hidden.

Young people living between cultures through immigration or other causes face serious misunderstandings and clashing expectations, yet may have unique tools for healing a broken society.

People whose identities are privileged or marginalized grow up in different worlds. Models from within various communities chart the patterns of their developing awareness.

Short Exercises

Participants act out short conversations showing communication breakdown between people with opposite norms and values. Then the actors and observers try to figure out what happened and why.

See where your viewpoint and communication style–and those of others–
fall within some of the most common and troublemaking cultural
dichotomies. Quick to do, and quite enlightening.

Whether or not you consider yourself multicultural, you have different identities that step forward in different contexts. Which are most important to you, and how do they vary with the situation?

Apply new intercultural knowledge to an odd incident or situation from your life where you think the confusion is due to cultural differences. Pick
something interesting and important that you’d be willing to share.

Half-Day Workshops

An exercise for use by qualitative researchers to share the most powerful insights and experiences from their research in an interactive and enjoyable form during a standard length workshop.

A complex and rewarding simulation for communicating and negotiating with your opposite. This training contains four parts: Explanation, Culture Cards, Dialogue Cards, and Instructions for facilitating.

The Spaces in Between

Data Dump: The Sociology of Talking about Yourself

Data Dump: The Sociology of Talking about Yourself

Image by splongo from Pixabay Okay, I don't much like sharing personal things, but sometimes you must in order to make a point. So, when I was married to my second husband . . . oh, dear, I must digress again with a hot tip for you: If you're an Aquarius / Aries /...

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Let’s Talk Ertugrul

Let’s Talk Ertugrul

Greetings, Beys and Hatuns! Recently I've been fighting off the desire to post a giant, colored block on Facebook saying, "My Turgut! My Turgut!" just to see who else is watching. FYI, this character's name is pronounced, "TOUR-gute," and you roll your R a little to...

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So Glad “Black” is Back!

So Glad “Black” is Back!

This is written from Minneapolis, city of George Floyd's murder, where I live. It's the site of a shameful, inexcusable crime by men who were sworn to protect, and it wasn't our first unjustified police killing of a Black person by any means. But it's also a...

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“My name is Tree, but call me George”

“My name is Tree, but call me George”

If You're Raised by a Nonconformist to be a Nonconformist and It Works, Does That Make You a Conformist? Because, you see, you're doing what you were brought up to do, what is expected. First responses to this question ranged from confusion ("Yes, no, maybe? Hopscotch...

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Why George the Tree? It started with “Messiah”!

Why George the Tree? It started with “Messiah”!

When I watched Netflix' Messiah, an aspect of one review surprised me. They said we'd see it through the eyes of a female CIA agent and an Israeli interrogator. Heck no! I didn't identify with either of them for a moment! I saw it through the eyes of a huge, streaming...

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