Professional communicators work on international and intercultural projects in dynamic assemblages. Recent scholarship has defined assemblages as powerful institutional, cultural, and material configurations that affect life and work in diverse situational contexts or geographies. For example, Stephen J. Collier (2006) described global assemblages as "actual configurations through which global forms of techno-science, economic rationalism, and other expert systems gain significance" (p. 400). Likewise, about the instrumentalist logic behind such systems, Dale L. Sullivan (1990) asked us to critique "the technological mindset" and allow critical action to inform technical and professional communication practice (pp. 375-377). In international and intercultural professional communication (IIPC), Angela Haas (2012) critiqued technological, racial, and rhetorical assemblages complicit in many dominant forms of professional communication (pp. 290-292). And, although Godwin Agboka (2012) accurately critiqued large-scale definitions and approaches to culture in IIPC for their neglect of more finely grained understandings of culture in local environments (p. 161), larger systems—even assemblages—also benefit from fine-grained interpretations that enhance awareness of what many marginalized cultural communities are up against, even at the community level. In that vein, in a separate article I analyzed g/local administrative assemblages in IIPC, theorizing that emancipatory counter assemblages, though systemic as well, could provide some resistance to the more instrumentalist assemblages of government, industry, and education (Mattson 2015). More work is yet needed, however, to problematize the role assemblages play in IIPC practice, and to examine, as well, this theory of counter assemblages. To that end, this article points to the ethno-cultural assemblage of early 20th-century U.S. Finnish émigrés as a context for a wayward PR campaign that, in confusing advocacy with emancipation, led some U.S. Finnish émigrés to their own deaths in a far away place. For one survivor, this outcome prompted archival research and translation of a record of work that would recover truth in the language of many of the victims.
"The Death List of Sandarmokh: Mayme Sevander's Work as Emancipatory International and Intercultural Professional Communication,"
Journal of Rhetoric, Professional Communication, and Globalization: Vol. 9
Available at: https://docs.lib.purdue.edu/rpcg/vol9/iss1/3