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HCOM 1700: Intercultural Communication

I have taught intercultural communication six times, and strive, each time, to incorporate current events or ongiong campus events to make the course content more relevant to my students. In this case, I co-partnered with an artist in residence, Jewlia Eisenberg of Charming Hostess.

Click here for more information about the course and course references.

Course Description
This course explores the fundamental concepts and issues in intercultural communication. We will examine the complex relationship between culture and communication from different conceptual perspectives and consider the importance of context and power in intercultural interactions. This course provides an opportunity to explore existing and emerging issues, theories, and practices in intercultural communication.

In addition to learning theory and applying different approaches to the study of intercultural communication, this course asks that you consider your own cultural identities, values, beliefs, assumptions, worldviews, etc. through participation in class discussions. This is designed to enhance self-reflection, critical thinking, and your awareness to the complexity of intercultural communication.

This class is about intercultural communication and you can expect that your classmates possess varying perspectives about the materials being covered in class. In that context, this course will take advantage of the diversity that our class and university have to offer. We will work hard to help everyone develop their perspective and voice, embracing such factors as cultural background, race, class, gender, and sexuality.

Special Aspect of this Course

In the first part of this course we will be working closely with “The Bowls Project” (see more information at http://charminghostess.us/projects.html#slideshow) which is being conducted by an artist in residence, Jewlia Eisenberg. This will require you to meet twice outside of regular class hours. Two regular classes are cancelled to make up for this required time spent outside of class. These meetings are required, so start planning now to make sure you will not have a scheduling conflict. This project will tie in closely with our discussion of culture, history, and cultural values and will also serve to provide the context for your first graded essay. We will be reading and learning more about the project, but I would like to provide a brief context taken from the website cited above. “The Bowls Project is an immersive music performance that takes place in a dome. Based on inscriptions of sex and magic from Babylonian amulets, it features new music composed by Jewlia Eisenberg, performed by Charming Hostess. The Bowls Project conjures a visceral connection to daily life past and present in the region known today as Iraq.

The Bowls Project is based on texts from incantation bowls, common amulets 1500 years ago in Babylon. Simple clay bowls were inscribed with a householder`s secrets and desires, then buried under the house. Incantation bowls speak of mysticism and sex; angels and demons; and the trials and joys of daily life. Especially (and unusually) audible are the voices of the era`s women--their work, hopes, and dreams. These spiraled Aramaic inscriptions…open up a larger discussion: of the connections between material and literary culture, between canonized and marginalized voices, between ritual power and popular practice, and of how music mediates these relationships. Musical context for The Bowls Project is drawn from the female body, the rich traditions of the Babylonian Jews, and other diaspora sources, both Jewish and African. The performance dome echoes the sonic space of the bowls themselves and its warm interior evokes the domestic concerns of the bowl texts. Shezad Dawood will do video inscription on the dome walls, using source footage from the Iraq Museum.”

Objectives
By the end of the course students should be able to:
• Explore, understand, and appreciate multiple perspectives on culture and communication;
• critically examine their beliefs and assumptions about their own cultures as well as those of different cultures;
• increase their understanding of culture (meaning their culture(s) and cultures different from their own) and basic concepts, principles, and skills regarding communication between persons from different cultural backgrounds;
• understand and appreciate the importance of the roles of context and power in intercultural communication;
• recognize the influence their own cultural identities and privileges have on their intercultural communication interactions;
• become more willing, self-reflexive, flexible, and open communicators in intercultural communication interactions; and
• meet standard collegiate level requirements such as: completing assignments on time and following specific instructions, attending class and participating in discussion in a mature and respectful way, communicating with the course instructor and classmates in a respectful and professional way, and taking responsibility for one’s decisions and actions.