Speaking Difference

Steve Loft, as the National Visiting Trudeau Fellow at Ryerson University, recently presented his inaugural lecture “Towards Forever… an Indigenous Art Historical Worldview.”

In this lecture, Loft defines culture shock in the following way:

When peoples are disconnected from themselves; the loss of psychological, social and familial integration into their culture. It can be individual or communal and manifests itself in a sense of exclusion, isolation and powerlessness. When inflicted on whole societies, it represents a psycho-social amnesia. it is a by-product of cultural genocide.

With this idea in mind, I found myself watching Rainer Ganahl’s short film I Hate Karl Marx.

Xenophobia cannot be the moral response to other cultures, even if they dictate the language the street signs are written in, so what might be an appropriate response to culture shock? Further, considering culture shock as a by-product of migration in a more general sense, are the effects mitigated when the disconnection is voluntary, either to forget or to attempt a “better” life elsewhere?


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