Welcome to Culture Quarks! Cultural Nuances in a Global Universe
Culture Quarks is a blog discussing topics of race and culture.
Culture Quarks provides a forum for understanding and celebrating cultural diversity, for exposing inequities between cultures and for developing new paradigms in intercultural dialogue.
Culture Quarks draws upon personal experience, individual anecdotes, historical references and contemporary issues relating to race and culture.
/ˈkʌltʃə kwɑːks/, n.
1. Cultural nuances in a global universe,
2. The memes and minutia of specific cultures,
3. Cultural comparisons and juxtapositions,
4. Interactions, good and bad, between different cultures,
5. Attitudes and actions, good and bad, towards other cultures,
6. Information and discussions found on this blog.
Key topics: race and culture, colonialism and neocolonalism, immigrants and refugees, indigenous rights, pilgrimage and hospitality, peace and social justice.
Rodney Aist, Ph.D. is the course director at St George’s College, Jerusalem.
Culture defines and differentiates groups in significant and complex ways. In many cases, these cultural differences are well, if superficially, known; other differences are less transparent. The degree to which cultural differences naturally and unavoidably create separate — and sometimes irreconcilable — worldviews is less appreciated.
But cultures also change. They are constantly evolving and are continually adapting. One of the greatest forms of cultural oppression is the tendency of dominant cultures to deny minority cultures the freedom of progressive cultural change.
Sensitivity towards other cultures and the ability to navigate culturally foreign landscapes are characteristics of cultural competency. It is possible, of course, to build a knowledge base of the details and nuances of another culture, and millions of people successfully live in a bi-cultural world on a daily basis, though still not without the occasional, if not ongoing, misunderstanding.
Living in a multicultural world is much more complicated. The memes and minutia of multiple cultures cannot be learned with any degree of sophistication. As is true for all subjects, the more we understand about other cultures the more we realize how little we know about the other. Many of the quarks, memes and nuances of other cultures are simply not accessible. Therefore, in the end, cultural competency is not merely a factor of knowledge and experience but is also characterized by a humble appreciation of the gaps in our understanding of each other. Cultural competency is marked by an attitude of respect, an intellectual curiosity and a sense of wonder in the sophistication of the cultural other. .