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 Intercultural Communication

Manchester students aid Difference Matters author Brenda J. Allen

Manchester University students in Professor Mary Lahman’s COMM 256: Intercultural Communication course worked with Brenda J. Allen, author of Difference Matters, to help inform changes and additions in the upcoming third edition. 

“Dr. Allen listened to six groups of MU students share their research rationale and questions. She provided insights to each group so that they could collect data as critical ethnographers to disrupt the status quo and taken-for-granted assumptions in college classrooms,” Lahman said. “Our students used the results of their data analysis to create classroom activities and discuss the impact of social identities – such as age, ability, gender, race, social class, sexuality – on classroom communication in order to seek out diverse voices.”

Lahman described the collaboration as “priceless, powerful and poignant,” thanking the author for this wonderful opportunity for Manchester students.

Difference Matters presents complex and often sensitive topics in nonthreatening ways. Allen enlisted the students’ help in updating the book. It provides historical overviews to show how perceptions of gender, race, social class, sexuality, ability, and age have varied throughout time and place – and how they are perceived today.

Barbara J AllenAllen was keynote speaker at Manchester’s 2015 Martin Luther King Jr. Remembrance and Rededication Ceremony. At the time, she was associate vice chancellor for diversity and inclusion at the University of Colorado Denver. Currently, as professor emerita, she remains committed to teaching difference matters in an online course entitled, “Inclusive Leadership:  The Power of Workplace Diversity.”   

 “Your invaluable ideas and insights are timely and relevant. I especially appreciate that you offered constructive comments/questions to guide me as I write the 3rd edition, as well as affirming observations about what you liked,” Allen wrote to the students.

Difference Matters is in revision, and the publisher is looking at a 2023 release. Allen will mention the class in the acknowledgements.

The students were: 

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February 2022