Speech 27: Intercultural Communication

In our increasingly diverse world, cultural and intercultural literacy is an urgent necessity, not an option.  To help fulfill this exigency, the goal of this class is for students to explore how diverse underlying cultural orientations and patterns influence communication behaviors within and between cultures.Theoretical and practical aspects of intercultural communication will be addressed with a focus on how students can apply alternative communication strategies that result in deliberate and fruitful intercultural outcomes.

No prerequisites. Limited enrollment.

To view the full ORC description, which indicates terms this course is scheduled to be offered, follow this link: Speech 27

In this class, we will enhance the way we perceive the notion of culture and how it affects and is affected by the communication process. Martin and Nakayama note that, "learning about intercultural communication is not about learning a finite set of skills, terms, and theories. It is about learning to think about cultural realities in multiple ways.[1]" Starting from a working definition of culture, we will introduce variations of the definition of culture depending on particular perspectives. This course offers a critical survey of major theories and concepts in intercultural communication encounters. Our goal will be to address how we use our intercultural knowledge to help enrich our lives and the lives of those around us. Our class will be structured into three main units. We will begin the quarter by discussing theoretical questions concerning the study of intercultural communication and answer questions of why the study of intercultural communication is important. The second unit of the course will be spent briefly discussing the intercultural communication processes. Lastly, we will turn our attention to the application of intercultural communication across a wide range of topics, including education, politics, media, and other social justice contexts.

Course Goals

  • To understand how communication processes differ among cultures, and to acquire knowledge and skills that increase your intercultural competence.
  • To increase your awareness and knowledge of your own cultural norms and values, and of how your cultural location affects what you know and how you communicate.
  • To define concepts like—racism, sexism, and systems of privilege—that arise from histories of colonization, exploitation, and discrimination, and learn ways to creatively address these inequities.
  • To gain a critical perspective on local/global issues by examining the historical and political dimensions of intercultural relations.
  • To evaluate the relationship of intercultural communication to equity issues, to democratic practices and to a democratic society.
  • To apply these terms, concepts, and theories to your interactions with others and critically analyze and evaluate the influence of your culture(s) and techniques for intercultural competence.

[1] Martin, J., & Nakayama, T. (2010). Experiencing intercultural communication (4th ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill.