Communication and Culture | Interpersonal Communication
C122 | 1786-1787 | Professor Leila Monaghan

Fulfills COAS S & H distribution requirement

Interpersonal Communication is an introduction to the study of
communication, culture, identity and power and asks each student to
do original ethnographic research on the interpersonal themes
discussed in class.  We are particularly interested in the
performance of identity and power--how do people in everyday
conversation create the world they live in?  We will encourage you
not only to analyze others' communication, but also to use the
theoretical principles you learn to become more aware of how your
interpersonal interactions with others are connected to broader
questions of power and social

The specific topics covered are very broad.  The course takes a
cross-cultural approach looking at material ranging from North
Africa and New Guinea, to 17th century Quakers and a modern day Deaf
Church, to high and college students in San Francisco, Virginia and
Philadelphia.  One strong focus of the classis examining language
used every day by Indiana students—gendered language, slang, verbal
play and the language of education institutions like business
schools.  Past students have told us this course changed the way
they view the world, seeing patterns in their conversations and
lives that they had never even considered  before.

Interpersonal Communication classes are a lively mixture of lecture
and discussion. Students are asked to connect rigorous theoretical
readings to their own lives--how they interact with friends, family,
lovers and disliked acquaintances.  In addition to the ethnographic
research project where students tape and analyze the interpersonal
communication of a social group of their choice, students will be
expected to make low key presentations of the material they read.
Students in this class develop a unique set of analytical skills,
making them more confident in reading and speaking about complex
material and understanding how communication impacts their own
lives.  It is also one of the few opportunities for original primary
research at the undergraduate level.