I apologize for the slow blogging. I’ve been under the weather this weekend, and what energy I could muster went to more pressing things. Like patching an unfortunate hole in the kitchen wall from when the doorstop failed.
I also had some minor paperwork. I am being contracted to work remotely for a University in another state, and they sent along a question about what I’ve done “to foster multicultural understanding and cultural competence?”
While penning the obligatory bland response about international research and my old Peace Corps days, it occurred to me that many scientists who have to fill these things out can fall back on the inevitable international collaborations that pop up in a globalized scientific network. There’s nothing wrong with that, of course, but it’s one of those small cheats that meets the letter but not the spirit of the question.
When I’m at a conference with researchers from around the world, I don’t feel like I’m doing anything cross-cultural. Even when we speak different languages, the overwhelming feeling is that I’m at home among my people. Anyone who can talk for hours about the taxonomy of Pheidole, or collecting techniques for leaf litter arthropods, or the latest phylogenetic algorithms, fundamentally belongs to the same culture regardless of whether they came to it from English, or Portuguese, or Mandarin.