Cultural diversity is one of the most important topics in the United States today. But, given the importance of global trade, communication and increasingly sensitive global issues about territory, resource use, pollution and essential rights and freedoms, to truly understand cross-cultural communication and diversity students can benefit greatly by in-depth examination of a foreign culture. Such an examination should include: communication patterns, efforts to successfully navigate diversity opportunities and challenges, understanding of narrative and its influence on cultural themes and beliefs, understanding of identity and how it is reflected in culture and communication, and theories of cross-cultural communication, what they reveal and how they can be applied to produce knowledge of cultural groups. Since ethnic and cultural diversity provides a basis for societal enrichment, cohesiveness and even survival, examination of Chinese culture by American students provides an extremely rich opportunity to explore value systems, beliefs, and verbal and nonverbal practices which sharply contrast with the individualism and direct forms of communication mainstreamed in America.
In this course, students will be introduced to concepts critical to cross-cultural understanding such as culture, identity and stereotyping. We will discuss approaches to the study of cross-cultural communication (critical, social scientific and interpretive); the relationships between verbal and nonverbal communication and culture; the impact of histories and power on cultural development and methods and models of cultural adaptation. We will also explore a variety of issues central to cross-cultural communication such as the management of conflict across cultural groups and the benefits and challenges of intercultural relationships. But, what makes this section of S 427 unique is that the theoretical content will be filtered and explored through the unique lens of Chinese culture and communication.