Fall: Dr. Ananda Mitra, Communications Department
The students will learn about key communication theories that can be mobilized to interpret global events, values, and practices from multiple cultural perspectives. These theories would include: narrative theory to examine how narratives (stories) are increasingly important in how global events are presented within the public sphere with different authors of stories offering different perspectives on a singular event; theories of information flow within the context of international communication particularly as it has evolved in a digitally connected World where the authoritative institutional voice is supplemented by other voices that were previously silenced; the theories examining interpersonal communication where the “profiles” and “stereotypes” offer the lenses through which people would interpret the stories they encounter in the public sphere.
Spring: Dr. Rais Rahman, History Department
This course explores aspects of global living and citizenry through the lens of cultural encounters. As we inhabit an increasingly globalized world, it is next to impossible to imagine our existence without human interactions and connectedness across the planet. The ongoing pandemic has further reiterated this need. Historically, some cultural encounters have happened through wars and conquests while others have taken place through peaceful means such as trade, exchange of knowledge, and diplomacy. Some encounters happen within our local contexts while others across defined political boundaries. In addition, cultural encounters cut across the confines of racial, cultural, religious, linguistic, gender, and cultural identities.
This course considers movements of people and ideas, and human interactions under specific historical sites and moments such as the Silk Roads, the years of 1492 and 1498 as the points of European’s direct contact with the New World and the East respectively, imperialism and colonialism, industrial revolution, the World Wars, and the changing modes of communication. We will consider what entails encounters – from cultural sensitivity to stereotypes, from defining the self to creating the other, and from the eagerness to learn alternative practices to close attention to contextual factors. In nutshell, this course treats cultural encounters as a tool to understand our own selves as both local residents and global citizens and as one of the most effective ways to understand human existence and diversity.