Engaging difference

Christopher Horsethief shares his experience in communication



On October 11, communication and language majors had the opportunity to attend a colloquium titled “Engaging difference with boundary objects and contact zones.” Christopher Horsethief, educator and organizational theorist, spoke on his ideas about social processes, problem-solving, and community resilience after traumatic events. 

Nancy Semotiuk, communication and languages department chair, took courses from Horsethief while working to earn her doctorate. She described him as a “compelling educator” who specialized in engaging differences. According to Semotiuk, the event was well-attended by students who had positive feedback on what they learned. 

Horsethief shared an iceberg model of culture to help explain what boundary objects and contact zones are. Students were able to dive deeper into the realm of communication by learning about the importance of facial expressions and body language. “The idea of engaging differences is trying to understand where the other person is coming from so that you can engage with people that are different from you in a helpful and positive way,” Semotiuk said. 

For 27 years, Horsethief has conducted research on the relationship between culture and communication. His analysis of this relationship was shared with students with real-life examples of boundary objects. “I think the most valuable lesson is that you can engage in a healthy way with people that are different from you,” Semotiuk said about Horsethief’s presentation. 

An additional opportunity for colloquium credit is occurring on November 30 at 9 a.m. on Teams, with SPAN 330. Brian Marais will be speaking on the importance of being bilingual as a doctor. 

Posted on October 27, 2022. 


Portrait of Christopher Horsethief
Horsethief is an indigenous professor and leadership theorist.