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Article

Transnational Actors  

Markus Thiel and Jeffrey Maslanik

“Transnational” is a frequently mentioned key word in international relations today; it is used to denote in a simplifying manner an organization working beyond state boundaries and acting independently from traditional state authorities. The scholarly recognition of such actors occurred relatively late in the field and advanced with the acceleration of globalizing economic, political, cultural, and social processes. Despite the appearance of transnational actors as a topical and palpable concern for academics and practitioners alike, questions of conceptual vagueness and relational indeterminacy remain, and the continual proliferation of these entities lend urgency to the need for more scholarly attention to these agents.

Article

Transnational and Queer Diasporic Sexualities  

Fatima Zahrae Chrifi Alaoui

Research on transnational and queer diasporic sexualities is still in its infancy but continues to evolve rapidly as understandings of sexuality and queer identity become further complicated. The nuanced and contextual intersections of queer identity as paired with cultural specificity amplify and redefine queerness across space. Pushing back against long-standing notions of what queer looks like in the West, transnational and diasporic queer sexual identities transcend normative definitions of what sexualities can look like outside of rigid binary thinking. Considering three core themes—Western hegemony, transnational and queer diasporic families, and blurring the First/Third World binary—offers the ability to highlight lived experiences to better understand the complexities of the past, present, and future of transnational and queer diasporic sexualities.

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Transnational Social Movements  

Kenneth A. Gould and Tammy L. Lewis

Transnational social movements are defined as movements wherein members in at least two nations cooperatively engage in efforts to promote or resist change beyond the bounds of their nation. Over the last 20 years, research on transnational social movements has proliferated in tandem with rapid globalization. The scholarship draws upon research conducted by sociologists and political scientists on national social movements and extends it to a global level. Similar questions and concepts applied to national or subnational movements are now applied to transnational movements: Why do they emerge? What are their processes? What are their consequences? Concepts such as political opportunity structure, which have been used to analyze the timing and outcomes of national social movement organizations’ actions, are being extended to understand how the international political arena shapes movements. The majority of work has been case specific and focused on a handful of movements: the human and indigenous rights movements, the women’s movement, the labor movement, and the environmental movement. Over time, this theorizing moved beyond borrowing concepts intended to explain local and national movements to generate concepts and propositions unique to the particularities of local-global/transnational movements. One of the limitations of the work to date is the lack of comparative work and theoretical development. The next stage of research should build upon the empirical work that has been generated by assessing propositions comparatively.

Article

Transnational Feminist Activism and Globalizing Women’s Movements  

Melinda Adams and Gwynn Thomas

Women’s activism has assumed an international dimension beginning in the nineteenth century. Transnational feminism has been shaped by debates over a wide range of issues: how to name and describe feminist inspired action that crosses national borders; how to create organizations, networks, and movements that acknowledge the multiple power differentials that exist among women while still allowing for concerted political action; and how to craft effective mobilization strategies in the face of highly differing forms of activism. These debates have fueled a surge in scholarly interest in the transnational activities of feminist groups, transforming the ways in which women’s studies, political science, international relations, sociology, and geography investigate the relationships between national and international levels of politics. The scholarship on transnational feminist actions has been influenced in large part by the concept of transnational advocacy networks/transnational feminist networks, which often bring together multiple kinds of actors such as social movements, international nongovernmental organizations, and more nationally or locally based actors. Another issue tackled by scholars who are politically committed to the goals of transnational feminist activism is how feminists are likely to achieve their goals and produce change through their transnational activities. These scholars can be expected to continue to develop their own research agendas on transnational feminist activism and to influence how transnational politics and globalization are studied in other fields.

Article

Futures for Literary Studies  

Paul Jay

The future of literary studies will be shaped by new and emerging trends in scholarly, critical, and theoretical work, by changes in the material conditions that enable that work, and, perhaps most importantly, by how the institutions within which it functions respond to recent changes in higher education that increasingly threaten the viability of almost all humanities disciplines. The material conditions that shape work in literary studies have changed dramatically in recent decades. The impact of digital technology has been nothing short of transformative, and the changes it has introduced are bound to continue to reshape the field. At the same time, the expansion of the canon, the transnationalizing of literary studies, the revitalization of narratological, formalist, and aesthetic criticism, the emergence of new interdisciplinary fields including the study of sexuality and gender, ecocriticism, affect theory, and disability studies, promise to continue to exert influence in the coming decades. The future from these perspectives looks promising. At the same time, however, the institutional sustainability of literary studies has come under threat as the liberal arts model of higher education has increasingly given way to a stress in higher education on vocational training in the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) disciplines, which has worked to undercut the value and the attraction of literary studies. How the field responds to these changes in the coming decade will be crucial to determining its future viability.

Article

Global Diversity Management  

Jawad Syed and Memoona Tariq

Diversity management refers to organizational policies and practices aimed at recruiting, retaining, and managing employees of diverse backgrounds and identities, while creating a culture in which everybody is equally enabled to perform and achieve organizational and personal objectives. In a globalized world, there is a need for contextual and transnational approaches to utilize the benefits that global diversity may bring as well as the challenges that organizations may face in managing a diverse workforce. In particular, it is important to take into account how diversity is theorized and managed in non-Western contexts, for example in BRICS countries (i.e., Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) and Muslim-majority countries. The literature confirms the need for organizational efforts to be focused on engaging with and managing a heterogeneous workplace in ways that not only yield sustainable competitive advantage but also are contextually and socially responsible. Organizations today are expected to take positive action, beyond legal compliance, to ensure equal access, employment and promotion opportunities, and also to ensure that diversity programs make use of employee differences, and contribute to local as well as global communities.

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Asian American Ecocriticism  

Anita Mannur and Casey Kuhajda

Asian American ecocriticism focuses on providing theoretical frameworks for understanding race and ethnicity in environmental contexts. Attention to Asian American literary criticism can fill crucial critical lacunae in the study of the environment in American studies. Since the early 2000s, ecocritical and environmental studies have conceptualized place, the physical and built environment, not only as an object of study but also as a site from which to launch a critique of how ecocritical studies has centered issues such as climate change and environmental degradation by understanding the intersectional contexts of environmental studies. Asian American ecocriticism in this sense can be understood as a rejoinder to the extant body of work in ecocritical studies in that it demands a vigorous engagement with race, class, and ethnicity in understanding what we think of as the environment.

Article

Curriculum: Local, National, Transnational, and Global  

Sybil Durand and Nina Asher

Examining curriculum in terms of local, national, transnational, and global contexts requires engaging discourses of postcolonialism, decolonization, and globalization. Curriculum studies, empirical research projects, as well as literature, film, the arts, and social media collectively illustrate the many ways in which local, national, transnational, and global influences intersect and inform each other. These intersections and the tensions they raise with regards to race, culture, gender and sexuality, and nation, in turn shape curriculum, teaching, and educational research. The resurgence of racism, xenophobia, and global capitalism, and the resounding calls for activism in response to social and systemic injustice have implications for education researchers to persevere in advancing decolonizing curriculum studies that aim to dismantle oppressions and build coalitions.

Article

Transnationalism and Education in the United States  

G. Sue Kasun, Patricia Sánchez, and David Martínez-Prieto

Transnationalism describes the ways in which ties between two or more nations are maintained; these ties abound in social practices that are, at times, situated within rigid governing structures. Transnationalism implies not only physical movement across borders, commonly referred to as “immigration,” but also emotional ties across borders. It also includes distinct ways of knowing that are informed by social media, loved ones, and cultural practices that span borders. The transnational social spaces in which youth are raised are often filled with deep understandings of geopolitical contexts that weave together multiple national perspectives, personal navigation of physical borders (both with and without authorized documentation), and complex social networks in more than one country sustained through ever-changing media applications. However, these knowledges often remain unengaged in and underacknowledged by schools. The disciplines of sociology and anthropology have informed much of the research on transnationalism, although from different standpoints. Sociology has taken a more literal sense of transnationalism, focusing narrowly on physical bodies’ movements back-and-forth over borders. Anthropologists have more robustly engaged the emotional and psychological aspects of transnationalism as it impacts the groups generally described as “immigrants.” Unfortunately, most of the research related to transnational children and education has been under the larger framework of assimilation. The unfortunate result is that the focus on how immigrants assimilate misses the opportunity to interpret (and perhaps misinterprets) a larger set of accompanying phenomena alongside the immigration act. For education, transnational experiences can help students develop a sense of identity, which in turn helps them achieve in the school settings of both receiving and sending countries, should they have to return. Similarly, transnationalism complicates and makes notions of citizenship more robust. Immigrant students are always potentially engaged transnationals during their settlement processes—the possibility exists that they will remain actively connected to their home countries and even potentially return for visits or permanently. Educational research has more recently examined how transnationalism helps create and can deepen literacy practices, especially digital literacies. Numerous education scholars have called for educators to draw upon students’ transnational lives in the curriculum. This can help prepare all students for an increasingly globalized world. This does not suggest a “learning styles” approach in which transnational students are considered a monolithic group in need of a repertoire of instructional strategies to meet the group’s needs. Instead, educators need to create the space in which students’ transnational experiences and perceptions are allowed to be aired, understood, and built upon in schools. In education, the commonly stated goal is for the classroom to function as a “community of learners.” If, in fact, educators aspire to build true communities, transnational students’ lives should no longer remain hidden from the view of their peers and teachers.

Article

Transnationalism and Asian American Performance  

Elizabeth W. Son

At once a process, a condition, and a mode of practice, transnationalism indexes the ways in which Asian American subjects have contended with the legacies of (neo)imperialism, war, militarism, and late capitalist modernity. This culturally manifests in dance club scenes, street festivals, community drumming events, memorials, performance art, theater, and more. A transnational approach counters some of the nation-state frameworks that have traditionally dominated understandings of Asian American culture. Thus, transnationalism provides a rich theoretical and methodological approach that is well suited to apprehending the dynamism, constraints, and potentialities of transnational Asian American social and cultural performances as they have moved and metamorphosed in the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries.

Article

Indigenous Peoples and Euro-American Frontiers, Borderlands, and Borders in North America  

Brenden W. Rensink

On July 27, 1882, a group of at least seventy-five “Turtle Mountain Indians from Canada” crossed the US–Canada border near Pembina, Dakota Territory, ordered white settlers off the land, and refused to pay customs duties assessed against them. “We recognize no boundary line, and shall pass as we please,” proclaimed their leader, Chief Little Shell. Native to the Red River region long before the Treaty of 1818 between the United States and Great Britain drew imaginary cartographies across the region or the 1872 International Boundary Survey left physical markers along the 49th parallel, Little Shell’s Chippewas and Métis navigated expansive homelands bounded by the natural environment and surrounding Native peoples, not arbitrary latitudinal coordinates. Over a century later, Indigenous leaders from the United States, Canada, and Mexico formed the Tribal Border Alliance and hosted a “Tribal Border Summit” in 2019 to assert that “Tribes divided by international borders” had natural inherent and treaty-bound rights to cross for various purposes. These Indigenous sentiments, expressed over centuries, reveal historic and ongoing conflicts born from the inherent incongruity between Native sovereignty and imposed non-Native boundaries and restrictions. Issues of land provide a figurative bedrock to nearly all discussion of interactions between and boundary making by non-Native and Native peoples in North America. Indigenous lands and competing relations to it, natural resources and contest over their control, geography and territoriality: these issues underpin all North American history. Adjacent to these more familiar topics are complex stories of boundaries and borders that were imposed, challenged, ignored, violated, or co-opted. Native histories and experiences at the geographic edges of European empires and nation-states uncover rough and untidy processes of empire-building and settler colonial aspirations. As non-Natives drew lines across maps, laying claim to distant Indigenous lands, they also divided the same in arbitrary manners. They rarely gave serious consideration to Native sovereignty or rights to traditional or evolving relationships to homelands and resources. It is a wonder, therefore, that centuries of non-Natives have been surprised when Indigenous peoples refused to recognize the authority of imposed borders or co-opted their jurisdictional “power” for their own uses. Surveying examples of Indigenous peoples and their histories across imposed boundaries in North America forces historians to ask new questions about intercultural exchange, geopolitical philosophies, and the histories of nations, regions, and peoples. This is a worthy, but complex, pursuit that promises to greatly enrich all intersecting topics and fields.

Article

Expert Networking and International Governance: Questions of Democracy  

Andreas Eriksen

Networks of experts coordinated or orchestrated by international bodies have become so widespread and influential that they are said to shape a new world order. Standards for consumer safety, investor protection, and environmental sustainability are governed by appeals to the epistemic authority of experts. Typically, formal international organizations orchestrate cross-border constellations of public–private collaborations between groups that are deemed to have relevant knowledge. This trend is part of a depoliticization of decision-making; policy issues are framed as technical problems that should be kept at a distance from party politics. The question here is how to conceptualize and assess this development in democratic terms. In political theory, three kinds of approach have evolved in response to this trend. At one extreme, the argument is that governance beyond the state cannot be legitimate until it has implemented modes of representation and contestation familiar from the domestic context. At the other extreme, the argument is that legitimacy beyond the state should be decoupled from democratic concerns and be legitimated on technocratic grounds. Between these two poles is the argument that democracy does not have to resemble the domestic model in organizational terms and can fruitfully be reconceived or reinterpreted in the international context. Versions of the reinterpretive approach are currently popular under different theoretical labels. It is fruitful to use it as a model for considering questions of democratic legitimacy for the expert networks that constitute or interact with international organizations. In following the reinterpretive route, a natural starting point is to consider what the key evaluative dimensions of democracy are. At an abstract level, democracy is about three main considerations: 1. Authorization: The people are the rightful principals of public action. It is necessary to consider how people can be empowered to challenge and potentially veto opinions that flow from expert networks. 2. Attitude: Democratically justified institutions express the right kind of concern for people as equals. There are important questions about how the technical rationalities of expert networks can show consideration for a reasonable pluralism of perspectives and how “soft law” can address subjects with appropriate respect for citizens’ claim to justification and rule of law. 3. Area: The authority of democratically legitimate institutions must be matched by a defined sphere of answerability. For the area of expert networks, this issue concerns both the scope of expert mandates and whether there is a fit between mandate and actual practice. The task for an assessment of the democratic legitimacy of expert networks is to consider more fully what each of these evaluative dimensions imply in the relevant context.

Article

Transnational Queer Translations  

Ahmet Atay

One of the arguments that queer color of critique makes is that queer theory and queer studies and their applications in communication studies are not intersectional. This criticism also includes the dominance of White voices, perspectives, and methodologies. Hence, some scholars argue that although queer theory and queer studies promise inclusion, they are not inclusive enough. Following this criticism, in this essay I claim that in addition to the dominance of White perspectives and the hegemony of English, queer studies in the communication discipline is U.S.-centric. Therefore, I argue that to fully understand queer experiences, as communication scholars we must take intersectional and transnational perspectives to make sense of queer lives. In this article, the author offers transnational queer slippages and translations as a perspective to examine diasporic and transnational queer experiences. Here, I argue that diasporic and transnational individuals often live in multiple cultures and different nation-states and speak more than one language. Hence, they constantly maneuver between cultures and nation-states and often translate from one experience to another. Sometimes, due to linguistic limitations, such as the lack of a word to mirror their experience, they fail to translate. Moreover, diasporic and transnational queer individuals often experience different layers of cultural maneuvering because they also have to negotiate their queerness. They translate their experiences from mainstream culture to queer culture, from the mainstream queer culture to their individualized diasporic and queer experiences. Thus, they often experience constant translations. When they fail to translate, they begin to experience slippages. I refer to these slippages as queer slippages because they do not only translate between nation-states, cultures, and languages, but they also translate between mainstream queer culture and diasporic or transnational queer experiences. These slippages can be liberatory because they offer possibilities, but they can also be very challenging for those who are stuck in those slippages.

Article

Global Actors: Networks, Elites, and Institutions  

Mikael Rask Madsen and Mikkel Jarle Christensen

Over the past several decades scholars have intensively debated what factors drive globalization. Answers have ranged from the emergence of the information society and the global economy to value-conflicts embedded in different civilizations. A different yet closely related question is who is driving globalization? That is, however, much less studied, even if it is arguably key to making global governance intelligible. A whole list of actors seem to offer possible answers to the question of who the globalizers are: Are they global institutions such as the World Trade Organization (WTO) or the International Criminal Court (ICC); communities of experts providing technocratic solutions; transnational networks of activists seeking to alter global and national politics by pursuing, for example, environmental or human rights agendas; or are they powerful individuals forming transnational elites taking the fate of the global society in their hands at a safe distance from ordinary politics in places such as Brussels, New York, or Davos?

Article

Diasporic Transnationalism, Gender, and Education  

Kimberly Williams Brown

Transnationalism, gender, and education are bound together through a global need for cheap, replaceable labor. Women work for less (cheap labor) and often travel globally for work. Education has not been exempt from this phenomenon and teachers’ roles in transnational and global knowledge production and teaching have not always been documented. Despite this, women have been resisting the exploitation of their labor through diasporic transnational networks; one such example is Afro-Caribbean women teachers who demonstrate how a politics of refusal, diasporic transnationalism, and liberation are bound together in interlocking ways. Diasporic transnationalism allows marginalized people to resist a world created on inequities that tells them they are not capable of agency and their own definitions of liberation.

Article

Transnational Childhood and Education  

Aparna Tarc

The field of transnational childhood and education emerges under intensifying mobilities. These global conditions disrupt universalist educational treatments of childhood as a fixed developmental stage of human being. Transnationality shows childhood to be a psychosocially constructed experience that takes myriad form across diverse cultural, historical, educational, and political contexts. The lives of actual children are caught in colonial and national constructions of childhood and subject to its discourses, politics, and normative enactments through public schooling. The emerging field of transnational childhood and education represents a potentially critical intervention in colonial and national enactments of childhood worldwide. Despite interdisciplinary efforts to reconceptualize childhood, Western educational institutions continue to hold to and reproduce hegemonic and colonial understandings of childhood as monocultural, heteronormative, familial, innocent, and protected. Mass global flows of people, culture, and ideas compel policy-makers and educational experts worldwide to consider transnational childhood as the dominant situation of children in and across multicultural nations. The fluidity of malleable childhood experience is poised to generate new educational arrangements and innovations. Transnational lives of children de-stable normative categorizations and fixed situations placed upon children in and through the mechanisms of early childhood education and national schooling. Researchers of transnational childhood and education engage a range of educational experiences and arrangements of children moving within, across, and outside of formal and national schooling institutions. Increasingly children and families are caught in experiences produced by global, geo-political conditions including: war, forcible migration, detainment on borders, internal colonization, and environmental catastrophe. To respond to the times, families and communities seek out and/or are forced to provide opportunities and alternatives for children outside of school. Increasingly children use emergent digital and other forms of remote and inventive means of education. As research in this area is new, transdisciplinary, and ground-breaking, the study of transnational childhoods and education has the potential to radically innovate and deepen the meanings and possibilities of both childhood and education in a rapidly globalizing, uncertain, and changing world.

Article

Transnational Curriculum Studies  

Seungho Moon

Transnational curriculum studies (TCS) examines the fluid dynamics of knowledge creation, knowledge circulation, and knowledge representation across nation-state borders. It challenges the rigid architectures of state power and brings local concerns to the global context such as antiracist pedagogy and climate change issues. At the same time, TCS opens spaces for collaborative study of the same curriculum issues across nation-states from multiple perspectives. Curriculum scholars have extended scholarship to respond to various sociopolitical, cultural movements. Issues studied include human rights, recognition, and epistemicide through a framework that emphasizes hybrid identities and power operations across nation-states. Feminist postcolonial scholars within this field also highlight unequal power operations among nation-states, particularly for “marginalized” communities. They interrogate discourse on equity, power, and exploitation as a consequence of transnationalism. TCS scholars critically examine important questions on recolonization of knowledge through Eurocentric, patriarchal ideologies and the social reproduction of knowledge through curriculum. They also incorporate Indigenous approaches to knowledge learning and dissemination with the support of transnational curriculum inquiry. Key issues in TCS include global inequity and postcolonial discourse in transnationalism, transnational subjectivity and identity discourse, and epistemicide in curriculum and integration of Indigenous knowledge. Future directions for TCS arise from ontological, pedagogical, and methodological issues, which include collaborating with those in the field of border studies as physical and metaphorical spaces in research, linguistic issues in academic communities, and transnational curriculum studies for social actions and transformation. TCS contributes to opening space in curriculum theorizing to draw from multiple ways of knowing, including Indigenous epistemologies.

Article

Academic Diaspora, Transnational Education-Driven Mobilities, and the Nation State  

Le Ha Phan

Transnational education-driven mobilities produce a particular kind of academic diaspora in global higher education that is often valued by both home and host countries but in ways that vary and serve different interests and aspirations. These interests and aspirations are usually tied up with the contrasting perspectives on brain drain and brain circulation. With the promotion of worldwide globalization-driven internationalization of higher education, brain circulation and the associated discourse of connectivity have increasingly dominated policy and scholarly debates. The discourses of brain circulation and connectivity are furthered supported by technological advancements and numerous education-driven mobility programs introduced at all levels. While evidence of gain, circulation, and connectivity remains limited, there are concerns about capacity, knowledge and intellectual dependency, and academic inequalities between more developed higher education systems and those in developing countries. At the same time, varied privileges attached to academic diasporas and educational mobilities can cause tensions and hierarchies within a higher education system. The academic diaspora politics is located within this complex, hierarchical, and dynamic cultural, political, and economic space. As a way forward, grounded/home-based transnationality and a shift in discourse are discussed as a possible productive counter position to help reduce inequalities. Examples from Vietnam and several African countries as well as their respective transnational academic diasporas are provided to demonstrate the nuanced academic diaspora, brain drain, and brain circulation discourses.

Article

Nation and Ethnicity in Asian Theater and Performance  

Kevin J. Wetmore Jr.

Theater and performance are powerful tools for definition of national and ethnic identity. Nation, nationalism, ethnicity and identity are all unstable terms and concepts. In the 17th through the 20th centuries, there occurred a fundamental imposition of Western culture onto already-existent Asian cultures. Much of contemporary Asian nations and cultures saw their original, precolonial forms shaped and transformed first by colonialism, then by war, and finally by a postcolonial period starting in the postwar period through the early 21st century. In the wake of imperialism and colonialism, a number of Asian nations and cultures have used indigenous arts to reassert an unbroken sense of national or ethnic identity, rejecting Western models of theater while simultaneously embracing Western modes of performance and critique. Often, modern Asian nations would either invent traditions or move a tradition out of its original context in order to reimagine that tradition for the entire nation. National identity versus ethnic identity versus cultural identity, which can be the same or completely mutually exclusive within a community or individual, varies depending on the ethnic construction of the state and the nation. The theater thus both shapes national understanding of identities and, in turn, is shaped by it. Models for understanding nation, ethnicity, and identity can be found by examining individual case studies: the Japanese sense of the Japanese and the Other who lives in Japan (specifically Zainichi or Korean Japanese); the separate national identities of the two Koreas, which also shapes and is shaped by their individual sense of ethnic identity; the multicultural, multinational, and multiethnic nature of Singaporean society; and the Asian diaspora creating new variants on national and ethnic identity. Theater can both construct or challenge national identities, and it can also be exploited to assert a specific identity in the service of the nation-state or dominant ethnic group. Globalization and technology also challenge and reinforce ideas of nation, culture, and ethnicity.

Article

Australian-American Literary Connections  

Paul Giles

Within the literary connections between Australia and the United States, the more traditional notion of “influence” gained a different kind of intellectual traction after the “transnational turn.” While the question of American influence on Australian literature is a relatively familiar topic, the corresponding question of Australian influence on American literature has been much less widely discussed. This bi-continental interaction can be traced through a variety of canonical writers, including Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, and Charles Brockden Brown, through to Herman Melville, Emily Dickinson, Henry Adams, and Mark Twain. These transnational formations developed in the changed cultural conditions of the 20th and 21st centuries, with reference to poets such as Lola Ridge, Karl Shapiro, Louis Simpson, and Yusef Komunyakaa, along with novelists such as Christina Stead, Peter Carey, and J. M. Coetzee. To adduce alternative genealogies for both American and Australian literature, Australian literature might be seen to function as American literature’s shadow self, the kind of cultural formation it might have become if the American Revolution had never taken place. Similarly, to track Australian literature’s American affiliations is to suggest ways in which transnational connections have always been integral to its constitution. By re-reading both Australian and American literature as immersed within a variety of historical and geographical matrices, from British colonial politics to transpacific space, it becomes easier to understand how both national literatures emerged in dialogue with a variety of wider influences.