Intercultural mindfulness: Exploring mindfulness in students’ meaning-making about intercultural experience

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


In the paper, I explore the concept ‘mindfulness’ as part of intercultural theories. My conceptual exploration is developed in two ways by a) adopting an epistemically-just approach to consider multilingual, interdisciplinary literature across time and space, cultures and languages, domains and disciplines (Huang, Fay, and White, 2017; Huang, 2020); and b) investigating the kind of mindfulness demonstrated by students in their meaning-making about intercultural experience at a UK university. To do so, I use arts methods with five students to enable their performance of meaning-making. Then, as informed by my working understanding of mindfulness, I identify a series of interdependent qualities of mindfulness which are demonstrated by the student's meaning-making. These qualities include the ones that are commonly discussed in the literature (such as openness, awareness, acceptance, and introspective observation) and the ones that are less discussed (such as morality, ‘right’-energy, protection, equanimity, and imagination).

My study responses to the interest in using mindfulness in intercultural theories by addressing the lack of a sufficient ground for understanding the concept - i.e. an issue of ‘McMindfulness’ as critique by Hyland (2017) and Huang (2020). It moves beyond a socio-cognitive perspective which could reduce intercultural mindfulness into a cognitive, communicative skill. Instead, my exploration enriches the existing understanding of intercultural mindfulness by being attentive to the humanistic, moral, affective, and ideological aspects of the concept and by embracing multiple (e.g. Buddhist, psychotherapeutic, psychological, and intercultural) ways of understanding it.


Huang, Z. M., Fay, R., & White, R. (2017). Mindfulness and the ethics of intercultural knowledge-work. Language and Intercultural Communication, 17(1), 45-57.

Huang, Z. M. (2020). Learning from the ‘right’ ground of mindfulness: some insights for the ‘good’ interculturalist. Language and Intercultural Communication, 20(1), 50-61.

Hyland, T. (2017). McDonaldizing spirituality: Mindfulness, education, and consumerism. Journal of Transformative Education, 15(4), 334-356.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationthe 21st IALIC conference ‘Language, culture and interculturality: Global debates, local challenges’
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 25 Nov 2021


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