The intercultural occurs in the space between two or more distinct cultures that encounter each other, an area where meaning is translated and difference is negotiated. A systemic understanding of this highly complex process calls for interdisciplinary approaches, but scholars are often constrained by conventionalized conceptual languages of their disciplines, and by the incommensurability of frameworks of knowledge. What is also required is a high degree of self-awareness of the interpreter’s own epistemological categories, as well as of those of the diverse actors within the intercultural relationship that is being interpreted, something few academics are trained for. This essay proposes an interpretive scaffolding to reveal the intricate nature of such relations of difference, and makes the case that the intercultural process is a vital dynamic of human history, engendering not only conflicts but also intellectual ferment, creative tensions, and innovative adaptations.
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