COM 303 INTERCULTURAL COMMUNICATION

Course Syllabus

Spring 2004

Important:

This syllabus and the course policies are binding documents. You will be held responsible for all information covered in it. Please also remember that this is an Internet course. Carefully consider your decision to take this class and plan accordingly, especially if any of the following situations apply to you: you will not have continuous access to a reliable high speed Internet connection for the next 16 weeks; you will be unable to check the course website at least twice a week during this time; or you will be unable to devote at least 3 hours a week to this class in addition to preparing outside readings and assignments.

Acknowledgments

Professor Jeanne Barone authored the online version of this course, including most of the text and graphics. Professor Barone and I team taught this online class twice. After leaving the University, Professor Barone generously gave permission allowing me to continue teaching the course that she worked so hard to create and teach.

Course Objectives

Required Texts

You will access all required readings from within WebCT.

Assignments and Point Values

Cultural Analysis of a Snapshot

100

Response Postings (2 @ 100 pts. each)

200

Researched Argument-Driven Paper

100

Quizzes (4 @ 100 pts. each)

400

Group-Led Discussion Forum

100

Participation in Group-Led Discussion Forums

100

Total Points

1000

Description of Assignments

NOTE: ALL WRITTEN ASSIGNMENTS ARE DUE BY 11:59 PM THURSDAY ON THE WEEK THEY ARE ASSIGNED, UNLESS OTHERWISE SPECIFIED.

 

CULTURAL ANALYSIS OF A SNAPSHOT:

In this exercise, worth a maximum of 100 points, you must write a 500-750 word narrative in which you analyze a photograph you have chosen, and why that picture - as a cultural artifact represents an important aspect of your culture. A link will be provided so that you can upload your document and image. You may need to go to campus or some other public computing facility where you would be able to scan your image. If you need help on submitting this assignment, leave a message in the Help Wanted/Help Offered Discussion Thread. You will not be graded on the quality of the picture you choose, but rather, on how thoughtfully you are able to analyze your picture. Briefly describe the culture(s) in which you were raised. Include brief descriptions of your family culture, your ethnic and/or religious cultures, and any other cultural influences that have formed the unique individual you are. Also briefly describe the current culture(s) in which you reside. How are these cultures and influences different from those in which you were raised? You should use the photograph you choose for this assignment to explore the forms and meanings of cultures in your own life; the cultural influences that have formed you; what you have learned about cultural diversity and the diverse cultural influences that have helped to shape who you are. Finally, use what you see in the photograph as a way to summarize the dominant values or beliefs that are a part of your personal world-view as a result of cultural influences that have formed you. Although there is no one right way to complete this assignment, which should also introduce who you are to the rest of the class, before writing you might begin by taking a moment to look at your picture and pretend you were an anthropologist studying a different culture for the very first time.

 

RESPONSE POSTINGS:

Response Postings are thoughtful and reflective 250 - 500 word essays that respond to the assigned readings for that week by synthesizing significant and major points appearing in each text that you have read. Two (2) postings on the Class Discussion forum within WebCT are required. Responses must be posted by the specified due date. Do not write your paper by moving from one reading to the next, as if you were compiling a laundry list of the ideas presented. Instead, you are responsible for identifying, describing, and analyzing a single theme that runs throughout all of the assigned readings. For example, some readings end with questions meant to provoke your thinking. You may choose (though you are not required) to use one or more of these questions as a way to launch your discussion. Ideally, for the maximum grade the response posting will synthesize the wisdom gained from the assigned readings. Although you are encouraged to emphasize ideas in some readings over other readings, I will assess your response postings on the basis of how thoroughly they demonstrate your engagement with all of the assigned readings. Postings will earn a maximum of 100 points each for a total of 200 possible points.

 

RESEARCHED ARGUMENT-DRIVEN PAPER: 

Select a topic from the topics listed below to research using both web and print-based sources.

In this paper, using both web and print-based sources, you must critique four working URLs or addresses to websites that provide relevant information about that topic from a multicultural perspective. The four URLs you select must address the topic from multiple cultural perspectives. The US can serve as only one cultural perspective. Your paper should develop an argument concerning how these websites represent or do not fairly represent an understanding of the topic you have chosen. Using appropriate transitions from paragraph to paragraph, you should provide a well-developed paragraph-length critique for each URL. Critiques must briefly explain how the website is relevant to an intercultural perspective, and then assess the information offered in relation to at least one important issue raised by one of the readings. You do not need to choose the best or worst website; you do need to demonstrate that you can think and write critically and reflectively about how that website represents a culture and/or issue from a cultural perspective. This researched, argument-driven paper can earn a maximum of 100 points.

 

GROUP-LED DISCUSSION FORUM:

You will join a group by signing up for a list of selected course topics later in the semester. For one week, your group will lead an informal online discussion, posing questions and responding to various other messages made on the Discussion Forum. You will not receive written feedback on your work as a group, but you will be expected to show that you have prepared to lead the discussion at the beginning of the week for the assigned readings, including coordinating responsibilities with other group members.

 

PARTICIPATION:

Although this is an Internet course and we do not meet face to face, this is not a correspondence course. Since one of the stated objectives of the course is to create a sense of community, we need to find ways to interact with one another. You will need to participate informally in various discussion forums, including the group-led ones. Although you will receive no written feedback on how you participate in these forums, you are welcome to contact the instructor for general feedback on the quality of your participation.

 

Course Schedule

Unless otherwise specified, all submitted assignments are due by 11:59 PM on Thursday of the week assigned.

This syllabus is highly tentative and subject to change.

 

Week 1: READ SYLLABUS AND COURSE POLICIES

Week 2: ending Thursday midnight, 22 Jan.

Readings:

What Is Culture?

Social Construction of Cultures

Week 3: ending Thursday midnight, 29 Jan.

Readings:

What Is US American Culture?

Miner, "Body Rituals Among the Nacirema"

Due: Response Post

Week 4: ending Thursday midnight, 5 Feb.

Readings:

Identity and Family

Perceptions, Maps and Mapping

Lamott, excerpt from Traveling Mercies

Week 5: ending Thursday midnight, 12 Feb.

Readings:

Cultural Beliefs and Values: World Religions

Ethnocentrism, Stereotyping and Prejudice

McIntosh, "White Privilege"

Due: Snapshot

Week 6: ending Thursday midnight, 19 Feb.

Readings:

Language and Verbal Communication

Nonverbal Communication

Symbols, Signs and Semiotics

Due: Quiz 1 for weeks 1-6

Week 7: ending Thursday midnight, 26 Feb.

Readings:

Time

Work

Week 8: ending Thursday midnight, 4 Mar.

Readings:

Money

Childhood

Due: Response Post for Weeks 7-8

Week 9: Spring Recess 8-12 Mar.

Week 10: ending Thursday midnight, 18 Mar.

Readings:

Medicine, Madness and Disability

Rosenhan, "On Being Sane in Insane Places"

Due: Argument-Driven Paper

Week 11: ending Thursday midnight, 25 Mar.

Readings:

Power, Conflict and Violence

Prescott, "Body Pleasure and the Origins of Violence"

Due: Quiz 2 for weeks 7-11

Week 12: ending Thursday midnight, 1 Apr.

Readings:

Gender and Gender Dominance

Foot Binding

Female Genital Mutiliation

Week 13: ending Thursday midnight, 8 Apr. (discussion continues to 15 Apr.)

Readings:

Excerpt from Massacre at El Mozote

Excerpt from King Leopold's Ghost

Week 14: ending Thursday midnight, 15 Apr.

Readings:

Evolution and Culture

Global Culture

Excerpt from Schlosser, Fast Food Nation

Due Quiz 3 for weeks 12-13

Week 15: ending Thursday midnight, 22 Apr.

Readings:

Art and Culture, including the art issues websites provided

Week 16: ending Thursday midnight, 29 Apr. 

Readings:

 Strategies for Intercultural Competence

Week 17: ending Thursday, midnight, 6 May

Due: Quiz 4 for weeks 14-16