Communication and Culture | Introduction to Communication and Culture
C205 | 1951 | Terrill, R.
MW, 12:20 PM-1:10 PM, CH 122
Required Friday discussion section
Required for all majors in the Department of Communication and
Fulfills College A&H Requirement
Fulfills GenEd A&H Requirement
Course Director: Robert Terrill
Office: C2 231
Many of us tend to think of the process of communication as going
something like this: (1) we get an idea, (2) we put that idea into
words or images or actions, (3) we send those words or images or
actions to another person, and (4) that other person decodes the
words or images or actions to find the idea that we put into them.
Simply, we talk in order transfer ideas from our brain into the
brain of whomever is listening to us. In this view, “communication”
is a sort of container or conduit for ideas, nothing more than handy
way to transmit data from one place to another.
In this view, ideal communication would be transparent — a clear,
concise, and simple conduit through which ideas and data travel from
one human brain to another. The ideas and data are the important
things, not the communication that is merely carrying them from one
place to another.
This course is designed to challenge that view of communication. We
want to recognize that communication is never merely a neutral
container for data and ideas that are created somewhere else. We
want to understand that data and ideas cannot exist outside of
communication. We want to see that, in fact, data and ideas are
partly constructed by communication. Human communication does not
make data and ideas portable — it makes them possible.
As an introductory course, C205 provides a broad overview of the
conceptual vocabularies and critical strategies that scholars use to
study communication, with a particular emphasis on the scholarly
traditions represented within the department: Rhetorical Studies,
Film and Media Studies, and Performance and Ethnographic Studies.
The goal is to provide students with the ability to recognize and
discuss these various perspectives, and thus begin to develop the
tools needed to become an intelligent observer of human
communication as well as an effective participant in contemporary
Coursework will include several short quizzes, two midterms, and a