The diversity of Chinese voices - Translation projects

Uncategorized Jan 13, 2021

The Chinese language is complex, extensive, thrilling, an endless treasure trove. However, due to the fact that relatively few non-Chinese master the language well the diversity of Chinese viewpoints and voices remains absent in Western discussions on China, as Chinese media only represent the official voice and propaganda.

A number of translation projects systematically translate texts into English, providing a glimpse into China's diversity:

Reading the China Dream

China Heritage

A valuable source of China knowledge:
Modern Chinese Literature and Culture


Al Jazeera's selection: Best 2020 books by African writers

must read books Dec 25, 2020

Al Jazeera 2020 selection of top books by African writers 

Wole Soyinka: Chronicles of the Happiest People on Earth

Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi: The First Woman/A Girl Is A Body of Water

Nanjala Nyabola: Travelling While Black: Essays Inspired by a Life on the Move

Akwaeke Emezi: The Death of Vivek Oji

Yaa Gyasi: Transcendent Kingdom

Alain Mabanckou: The Death of Comrade President

Stella Nyanzi: No Roses From My Mouth

Namwali Serpell: Stranger Faces


Art history beyond a Western canon

Uncategorized Dec 18, 2020

For exactly 20 years today the Asia Art Archive in Hong Kong has been dedicated to a more generous art history. It has built the most comprehensive, freely accessible library and archive on recent histories of art from Asia, as well as activating this material through numerous public programs to enable new perspectives and connections. If you are interested in broadening your view beyond the Western canon, this is a perfect place to start.

Visit the AAA here:


must read books Nov 13, 2020

must read books Nov 13, 2020


must read books Nov 13, 2020

Now in print!
MIRROR, a book by Jeanne Boden & Sanny Winters.
East? West? Diversity? "Only by recognizing difference can we see ourselves."

MIRROR - Now in print!

must read books Nov 13, 2020

MIRROR, a book by Jeanne Boden & Sanny Winters.
East? West? Diversity? "Only by recognizing difference can we see ourselves."

Available soon!
Keep you posted.

Published by O&W
Printed by Stevens Print

Medical treatment across cultures and knowledge systems

I am a medical doctor trained in Bogotá, Colombia. During my studies, I never received any classes on herbalism or "alternative medicine". After graduation I got a job that allowed me to travel around Colombia. In places across the country we discussed different types of treatments (including "alternative medicine" local people used). No one ever questioned the medications I administered.

One day I accompanied a group of school children from Bogotá on a trip to the Amazon. We stayed with different groups of indigenous people (Arawak, Tikuna and Huitoto). When some of the students started to have symptoms of gastroenteritis I prepared rehydration salts for them. The doctor from the Arawak community however wanted to treat them with plants and juice from a specific tree. Since I was responsible for the children, I feared their illness might get worse from local remedies so I persisted to use the rehydration salts. The Arawak doctor was convinced that imbalance in a natural body should be treated with natural medicine.

I realized that my viewpoints on well-being and disease were intrinsically related to the way I was educated. I did not trust alternative treatments, even though they may have been valuable. The notion of medicine we are educated with shapes our medical decisions. Different cultures have their own concepts and methods. This situation made me realize that in every option we give to a patient, in every treatment we offer, our views are embedded.

Text and image: Valentina Mazzanti, Medical doctor specializing in global health


Reflections on cross-cultural cooperation #1

In this category we reflect and comment on theories and practices in the field of cross-cultural cooperation.

We start with some reflections on Geert Hofstede's theory of cultural dimensions, which has become a dominant paradigm in the field. People around the world follow in his footsteps. Those certified in Hofstede's dimensions, teachers, trainers and others duplicate his model. Other specialists in the field continue to stick to Hofstede's basic assumptions. Fons Trompenaars developed his dimensions reminiscent of Hofstede and set up his own institute for certification. Erin Meyer training at INSEAD. "The Business school for the world" as they claim to be, likes to compare "the French", "the English", and "the Indians" to make her point. The extent and influence of this dominant paradigm is difficult to fathom.

All of these people have learned to discuss cross-cultural cooperation in terms of comparison between nations: "The Japanese are like this; the French are like that; the Brazilians are like that." Who are "the Japanese"? Who are "the French"? Who are "the Brazilians"? Rather than helping people to think beyond stereotypes, does it not make things worse if we see people as nations?

Hofstede should be credited for his enormous contribution to the field, but we are not in the 1970s anymore, so let us try to uplift the dialogue on diversity and cross-cultural cooperation to a dialogue between people.

Cultures are not static.
People are not nations.
We plead for bottom-up strategies instead of a priori assumptions, for diversity and flexibility instead of fixed categories. 

The Lies that Bind. Rethinking Identity

Anthony Kwame Appiah is one of my favorite authors. I would like to promote all of his books. From In My Father's House, to The Ethics of Identity, Cosmopolitanism, to The Lies That Bind. Rethinking Identity. They are beautifully written, sharp, poetic, charming, bright, personal, eye-opening and eloquent. If more people would read his work we would live in a different world.


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