Communication and Culture | Interpersonal Communication
C122 | 1632 | --

MTuWThF, 11:45 AM-1:00 PM, SY 0009

Fulfills College S&H Requirement

Course Director: Jennifer Robinson
Office: 800 E. 3rd St. – room 275
Phone: 855-4607

Interpersonal Communication (C122) is an introduction to the study
of communication, culture, identity, and power.  We are particularly
interested in the question of how people use everyday conversation
to create the world they live in.  The course takes a cross-cultural
approach, looking at communicative practices ranging from North
Africa to California, from 17th-century Quakers to a contemporary
Deaf Church, and from grade school students to college
undergraduates.  The course emphasizes the examination of language
used every day by Indiana University students, including gendered
language, slang, verbal play, and the academic language of business
and law schools.  Past students have said that this course changed
the way they view the world, allowing them to see patterns in their
conversations and lives that they had never before considered.
Interpersonal Communication classes are a lively mixture of lecture,
discussion, student presentations, and multimedia examples.
Students read excerpts from scholarly texts and learn to use
communication and performance theory not only to analyze others'
interpersonal interactions but also to become more aware of how
their own interactions with friends, family, lovers, and disliked
acquaintances are connected to broader questions of power and social
identity.  Each student does original ethnographic research on the
interpersonal themes discussed in class.  This research includes
recording and analyzing the “real life” interactions of a social
group of their choice.  Students make informal presentations of
their research to the class.  The ethnography project provides one
of the few opportunities for original primary research at the
introductory level. Throughout the course, students learn concepts
that allow them to understand better how communication practices
impact their lives while at the same time they practice critical
thinking, reading, research, writing, and presentation skills that
prepare them for more advanced coursework in many disciplines.