20th Anniversary Online Symposium





Issues, controversies and difficult questions

20th Anniversary Online Symposium: Notice and call for abstracts

(During the week of 23-27 November 2020)

20th Anniversary IALIC Online Symposium Call for Abstracts

The International Association for Languages and Intercultural Communication (IALIC) invites abstracts of 300 words that address the theme of “Issues, controversies and difficult questions” (or a related topic) for an online symposium in November 2020.

The year of 2020 is IALIC’s 20th anniversary. Although this year’s conference was scheduled to be held in Bogotá, Colombia, it has now been postponed until 24-26 November 2021, due to the Covid-19 pandemic. In order to mark the association’s 20th anniversary, the IALIC committee is now planning an online symposium which aims to stimulate reflection and discussion on “Issues, controversies and difficult questions” in the field of intercultural communication. The symposium will involve hearing from, and engaging with, up to eight carefully selected speakers in a series of short online presentations over the course of a week. The committee is currently calling for high quality presentation abstracts from IALIC members and other interested scholars/researchers in the wider community, addressing the brief below.


Confronting issues, controversies and difficult questions

During IALIC’s 20 years as an association, the field of language and intercultural communication has grown to become more interdisciplinary, and more international. Conceptualisations and methodological approaches in intercultural communication and language matters have evolved in response to the changing conditions in the world—in some ways, but perhaps not in others, and perhaps not sufficiently. Our world is even more divided between rich and poor, and conditions of exploitation, marginalisation, and loss, and their consequences, are equally dire. As researchers and educationalists in languages and intercultural communication, now is an important time to earnestly consider the aim of our scholarly activities and confront difficult questions. Presenters may wish to take up some of the difficult questions below or propose alternative questions.

Who does our scholarship aim to benefit? Does it make a difference to real issues of intercultural misunderstanding, prejudice, exclusion, and forms of oppression? Is our work now more or less relevant than before? How can we be sure? Given ongoing polarisation, is it worth asking whether we have failed?

As a field, are we actually progressing in our theoretical understanding of issues? Or are we just inventing new terms? Are we systematising knowledge where we can, or do we tend to reinvent the wheel? Are current intercultural issues and controversies changing the difficult questions we face? What are the future directions that, as a field, we should aim to pursue?


Possible themes, questions, or topics to explore

Presenters may wish to consider such difficult questions or alternative questions in relation to the issues and controversies below. The list below is a starting point only and by no means exhaustive. We encourage authors (in single and shared authorship) to bring to the discussion the issues, controversies, and difficult questions that they believe are necessary to address in the years ahead.

From intercultural communication to interculturality?

Interculturalism vs. multiculturalism

Intercultural competence: A developing concept?

COVID-19 and interculturality

Politics of intercultural communication

Intercultural communication and climate change

Intercultural relations in the workplace

ELF and intercultural communication

Intercultural communication for non-elite groups

Intercultural communication in the Global South, especially in African and Middle Eastern countries.

Communication ethics of intercultural communication

Occidentalism and intercultural communication

From the Third Space to symbolic competence

Critical pedagogy and intercultural communication

Translation and interpretation

Plurilingualism, translanguaging, languaging

Researching interculturally

Language and repertoire 

Arts and creativity

Interculturality clarity and political spin

Intercultural dramaturgy


Abstract submission

Abstracts should be 300 words maximum and must contain a title, the author’s or authors’ name(s), institutional affiliation(s), a brief biography (up to 50 words and for each author), and up to six references.

The deadline for submission of abstracts is Friday 28th August 2020.

Please email your abstract to ialic20thanniversary@gmail.com

Abstracts will be reviewed by a scientific committee.

The call is open to IALIC members and the wider scholarly community. However, we ask that non-members join IALIC if they wish to submit an abstract. The benefits of membership and membership forms are available here http://ialic.international/join-ialic/


Selection and online presentation

Eight of the best abstracts will be selected and the authors will be invited to present their ideas in the online symposium (during the week of 23-27 November 2020, with some flexibility according to the needs of chosen presenters). Presenters will speak for 10 minutes, followed by 20 minutes of discussion with the online audience. Each of the four 1-hour forums will have two presentations.

Invitations to participate in these forums are open to IALIC members and the wider researcher/scholarly community. However, to register and participate in the forums, you must be, or become, a member. Information about the benefits of membership and membership forms are available here http://ialic.international/join-ialic/


LAIC special issue

Following the online symposium, there will be a call for a special issue of IALIC’s journal Language and Intercultural Communication, to be published in early 2022, where the selected presenters and other researchers/scholars in the wider academic community will be invited to submit full papers on the issues, controversies, and difficult questions, addressing these topics, or a topic of their choice. Details about the call will be forthcoming immediately after the online symposium.

If you have any further questions about the call for abstracts, please contact the symposium organisers at ialic20thanniversary@gmail.com

The symposium organisers are:

Ana Beaven

Claudia Borghetti

Haynes Collins

Maria José Coperías

Prue Holmes

Zhuomin (Min) Huang

Malcom MacDonald

Troy McConachy

Judith Reynolds



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