Communication and Culture | Cross-Cultural Communication
C427 | 11776 | Calloway-Thomas, C.
MW, 9:30 AM-10:45 AM, C2 203
Instructor: Carolyn Calloway-Thomas
Office: C2 249
“I resented my parents deeply for throwing us so unthinkingly into
this cultural and political morass. In the years that followed, we
were forced to feel our way forward uncertainly, trying to make
sense of these contradictions and resolving them in our own
different ways.” These words, written by Ghada Karmi, a Palestinian
who struggles to assimilate into English society, tell us a great
deal about why culture matters. Increasingly, culture counts in new
and different ways.
Cross cultural communication is a course designed to familiarize
students with the cultural-ethnic factors that influence the process
of human communication. A major goal of the course is to demonstrate
how culture is a response to and a reflection of certain dynamics of
communication (e.g., ethnicity, roots, values, language, attitudes,
globalization, nonverbal elements, gender and social perception).
Specific Course Objectives:
1. To provide the student with background theory and research out
of which intercultural understandings grow.
2. To encourage in the student appreciation of similarities and
differences among cultures.
3. To help the student develop communication skills, assisting
him/her in becoming interculturally competent.
The following books provide the basic reading for the course.
Cooper, P., C. Calloway-Thomas, C & C. Simonds, Intercultural
Communication: A Text/Reader. Boston, MA: Pearson (2007).
Fadiman, A. The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down: A Hmong
Child, Her American Doctors and the Collision of Two Cultures. New
York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (1997).
Samavor, L. A. & Porter, R. E. Intercultural Communication: A
Reader. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Publishing Company (2003).
Format and Procedure:
The course will be taught in a lecture-discussion atmosphere,
ensuring flexibility and adaptability. Opportunity for experiential
learning is provided from time to time using films and exercises as
vehicles for intercultural understanding.
1. Examination. Students will pass three examinations that
will consist of short and long essay questions. The questions will
be based on lectures, class discussions and assigned readings.
2. One Paper. Students are required to write a paper. The
paper should be ten (10) pages for undergraduates and fifteen (15)
pages for graduate students. Topics may be selected through
consultation with the instructor, so make an appointment for this
conference. In general, the topic should focus on some
Communication aspect of another culture. The highest grade that one
can receive on a late paper is a C+. A paper requirements sheet
will be attached to the course syllabus.
3. Scholarly Reviews. Graduate students will read original
intercultural research articles and write a summary and response to
4. Classroom Exercises. There will be several projects,
including Walkabouts, case studies and critical reactions to
newspaper articles and readings about intercultural issues.
5. Class Attendance and Discussion. Students will attend class
regularly and participate in discussions. During class discussions
you are expected to raise significant questions, offer criticisms
and make connections with previous readings. Missing class will
make the material difficult to understand and integrate. You get
two absences in the class. Absences beyond 2 will result in a .1
deduction from your final grade. For example, if your final grade
would have been a 3.3 (or B+), but you have five absences, your
grade will be reduced to a .3 (or a B). Any kind of academic
dishonesty results in failure of the course.
Exams . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . 60%
Paper. . . . .. . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . 25%
Class participation projects. . . . . ..15%