GLS114 syllabus

GLS114 syllabus - GLS 114-003: Cross Cultural Understanding...

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GLS 114-003: Cross Cultural Understanding (Communication Intensive) Fall 2009 Course Instructor: Class meets: Kristin Sorensen, Ph.D. T and F; 12:45-2:00pm Office: Morison 227 Jennison 222 [email protected] 781-891-2680 Office hours: T and R 2:30-4:00 and any day by appointment Course Overview: Cross cultural understanding is an opportunity to see the world around you from new perspectives, and these opportunities allow you to grow and become a more interesting person, just as people who come from different backgrounds will become more interesting to you. Nonetheless, cross cultural understanding is also a crucial skill that appears to be lacking when we look at the state of the world around us, so the stakes are high when we consider the need for greater cross cultural understanding. When we are exposed to a culture that is different than our own, we begin to realize that the ways we greet one another, ask for a favor, buy our groceries, or negotiate with a business partner are actually quite arbitrary and based on what we happen to have been taught. Once we are sensitive to the fact that our way of doing things is merely one way of many, we will be better prepared when we find ourselves in encounters where we see other frameworks at work. This course is especially useful for students who plan to study, work, or travel abroad. But cross cultural understanding is not just about what happens when a person from one country encounters people from another country; our cultural identities are complex and have to do with a lot more than our nationalities. This course, through the readings, class discussions, film screenings, and assignments, will offer you useful perceptual tools for analyzing cross cultural experiences. The better prepared you are to analyze the situations you encounter, the more effectively you can learn to adapt to these new situations. We also will consider two contemporary case studies in which cross cultural understanding could play a larger role: violence against women in Mexico and the Palestinian/Israeli conflict. Course Objectives: Through class discussions, readings, media screenings, assignments, and other assessments, you will be challenged to take another look at your own culture(s) and habits and train yourself to be open and prepared for encounters with people whose expectations and perceptions are different from your own. We will use terms like rich points and culture frames to explain how our experiences differ across cultures and how we can learn to figure out the frames of thinking and rules of behavior for experiences that are new to us. We will use a variety of methods to analyze cultural experiences – including ethnographic approaches such as creating thick descriptions of the cultural groups and contexts we are studying, conversation analysis, cross-cultural comparisons, screening international films, film clips, and documentaries, and sharing our stories and experiences. By the end of the semester, you may find yourself more culturally sensitive and
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This note was uploaded on 02/24/2010 for the course GLS gls 114 taught by Professor Sorensen during the Fall '09 term at Bentley.

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GLS114 syllabus - GLS 114-003: Cross Cultural Understanding...

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