In Other Words

A Contextualized Dictionary to Problematize Otherness

The project: critical, creative, collective

Many historical and contemporary examples show how words are used, manipulated and mobilized to contribute to the (re)production of Otherness, creating specific narratives which have the power to shape individual and collective representations and interpretations of the self and others. 

The project consists in the development of an online dictionary of contextualized keywords which have been shaping different forms of Otherness juxtaposed to some creative proposals to problematize and reverse such narratives.

The project is critical, creative, and collective. It is critical because it offers a critique of words-in-context which reproduce and disseminate discriminatory discourses. It is creative because it reverses the perspective of the general narrative by using visual elements, works of art, ads, poems, etc. It is collective because it promotes the praxis of co-construction and of collaborative authorship.  

IOW (In Other Words) dictionary is a site to develop and share critical and intercultural awareness able to challenge the reification, the stigmatization, the stereotyping or the folklorization of the Other carried out through the dissemination of dehumanizing, stigmatizing, and stereotyping language.

IOW dictionary promotes a culture of mutual understanding across diversities. It is engaged in preserving freedom of expression, but for its core ethos and characteristics it will not accept any entry based on discriminating or offensive language against minorities, ethnic groups, religious beliefs, gender, sexual orientation, age - that is the Other in its various forms and shapes.

IOW dictionary bridges theoretical reflections and practical actions, proposing itself as a resource to be used for free in different real-life contexts. It aims at engaging teachers, educators, scholars, activists, and volunteers who work in different social and educational contexts. Being conceived as a work-in-progress open to diverse contributions, the dictionary is both a product and a process.

IOW dictionary maintains English as a lingua franca but includes other languages to favour a cross-cultural analysis of meanings, conceptualizations and attributions. 

IOW dictionary is an online resource to be used for free in different social and educational environments. Besides texts, it also contains visual elements. Please note that all the images here presented are already available online and are here displayed only for educational and research purposes ( = non commercial). They comply with the Fair Use Doctrine (more info at:  and at Fair Use Doctrine allows copyrighted works to be used without permission for the benefit of the public for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, or research. For further info, please refer to Contacts.

Main References

Interviews on IOW