Learning outcomes of the course unit
By the end of the course students will have developed theoretical knowledge about intercultural communication and some key soft skills that are necessary to develop good practices of intercultural communication (see below).
KNOWLEDGE AND UNDERSTANDING
- Knowing the interdisciplinary foundations of Intercultural Communication as a research field, as well as the key features of the functionalist and the constructivst approaches
- Understanding the complex relations among culture, mind and language, as well as the main theoretical stances and the advances of the research on these topics.
APPLYING KNOWLEDGE AND UNDERSTANDING
- Applying the key notions of intercultural communication to reflect upon one's personal experience and the formation of one's cultural identity.
- Applying the tools of intercultural communication to analyze case studies and identify potential causes of intercultural conflict.
- Identifying the differences of the main appraches to the study of intercultural communication.
- Appreciating the pros these approaches, as well as their potential disadvantages.
- Developing strategies for inclusive communication, avoiding bias and cultural stereotypes.
- Developing awareness of the role of emotional competence in the process of interpersonal communication.
- Developing the following soft skills: observation and self-observation, assessment and self-assessment, personal awareness, use of emotional resources to better understand others (e.g. empathy, active listening skills, open-mindedness, pespective shift).
Course contents summary
After a brief introduction to Intercultural Communication as an interdisciplinary field of studies, the course will be divided into three parts. The first part covers the theoretical basis of the study of communication among people with different linguistic and cultural background. This part discusses the concept of 'culture', the different approaches to cultural studies and the complex relations among culture, mind and language. The second part of the course covers the functionalist perspective to intercultural communication. Here, the notions of 'intercultural communicative competence' and the verbal and non verbal variables that can cause intercultural misunderstandings are discussed. The last part of the course aims to develop a critical approach to intercultural communication by introducing the constructivist paradigm and some of its key-concepts, such as 'small culture' and 'grammar of culture', as well as discussing the role of emotional competence in interpersonal communication.
Anolli L. (2004) Psicologia della cultura, Il Mulino (capitoli 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10).
Balboni P.E., Caon F. (2015) La comunicazione interculturale, Marsilio.
Critical reading of one of the following books:
Deutscher G. (2013) La lingua colora il mondo. Come le parole deformano la realtà (Through the Language Glass. How Words Colour our World), Bollati.
Hoffman E. (1996) Come si dice (Lost in Translation), Donzelli.
Mantovani G. (1998) L'elefante invisibile. Alla scoperta delle differenze culturali, Giunti.
Said E.W. (1978) Orientalismo. L'immagine europea dell'Oriente (Orientalism), Feltrinelli.
Servergini B. (2001) Italiani con la valigia, Rizzoli.
The material used in class is available on the Elly platform.
Lectures and interactive activities to promote intercultural reflection and critical thinking.
Assessment methods and criteria
There will be a written examination which will last 2 hours. The exam is divided into two parts: the first part consists of multiple-choice questions to test the student's knowledge and understanding of the key-notions of intercultural communication; the second part consists of practical activities, such as the analysis of experiences, materials or case studies in order to test the student's ability to apply the contents of the course, as well as their critical thinking and communicative skills.
A fail is determined by the lack of an understanding of the minimum content of the course, the inability to express oneself adequately, by a lack of autonomous preparation, the inability to solve problems related to information retrieval and the decoding of complex texts, as well as an inability to make independent judgments. A pass (18-23/30) is determined by the student’s possession of the minimum, fundamental contents of the course, an adequate level of autonomous preparation and ability to solve problems related to information retrieval and the decoding of complex texts, as well as an acceptable level of ability in making independent judgments. Middle-range scores (24-27/30) are assigned to the student who produces evidence of a more than sufficient level (24-25/30) or good level (26-27/30) in the evaluation indicators listed above. Higher scores (from 28/30 to 30/30 cum laude) are awarded on the basis of the student’s demonstration of a very good or excellent level in the evaluation indicators listed above.
There are no extra readings for students who do not attend the in-presence lessons, as the course is provided in a blended mode.