Course Content and Topics

  1. The history of intercultural communication research
  2. Essentialisation and de-essentialisation of culture
  3. Critical perspectives on effective communication in globalisation
  4. Professional communication in business, tourism, health, law, education and politics
  5. Multilingualism




The course consists of twelve two-hour interactive lectures on Wednesdays. You are expected to complete substantial amounts of mandatory readings every week in preparation for the lectures. As a rule of thumb, for each hour of lecture, you will have to read for approximately three hours. In addition to the mandatory readings, you should read widely and independently in preparation for your final essay (some suggestions on introductory readings and specific case studies can be found in the indicative reading list below, but please also conduct your own library search). Please book office hours with Jaspal to discuss your learning experience and your final essays.



Study Load

Lectures                            24 hours
Reading/self-study            70 hours
Assessments                    50 hours
Total                                 144 hours 



Learning Outcomes

On successfully completing the course, students will be able to:

  1. Develop a broad and in-depth understanding of intercultural communication
  2. Understand the difference between popular and scholarly engagements with intercultural communication.
  3. Recognise the phenomenon of cultural essentialism and learn how to avoid it.
  4. Critically discuss the historical development of intercultural communication research.
  5. Describe and explain the connections between culture and communication.
  6. Analyse texts, interactions and other forms of communication in which participants make (or don’t make) culture relevant.
  7. Apply the acquired knowledge to critically explore and discuss their own case studies.




Participation in class                                              10%
Reflection on learning progress (500 words)          20%
Take-home quiz                                                      20%
Outline for final paper        (1-2 pages)                  10%
Final paper (written assignment, 1800 words)      40%



Week-by-Week Schedule

Week 1
***No classes***

Week 2
***Lunar New Year, no classes***

Week 3
Introduction to researching intercultural communication 
What are cultures? What is communication?
Difference between intracultural, intercultural, multicultural and cross-cultural research

Week 4
Interactive approaches to intercultural communication
Intercultural and intracultural miscommunication 
Interaction as cultural negotiation

Week 5
‘It’s just a cultural thing’: Reification of culture in globalisation
Ethnic stereotyping and cultural essentialism
Simplifying complexity

Week 6
Marketing culture: The exotic and the familiar in the tourism industry
National tourism marketing campaigns
Off the beaten track: Contemporary travel writing online

Week 7
Effective and affective business communication 
The problem and market of effective communication in neoliberalism
Affect and emotion
Submission due: Reflection on learning progress (500 words)

Week 8
***Reading week, no classes***

Week 9
Professional-lay communication: Health, police, law, politics
Institutional jargon vs. everyday communication
Linguistic rights and linguistic citizenship

Week 10 
Foreign language education: Teaching language and/or teaching culture? 
The language-culture nexus
Teaching linguistic meaning and cultural norms
Submission due: Take-home quiz

Week 11
Multilingual family language policies
The one-parent-one-language rule
Futures, anxieties, play, subversions

Week 12
Translanguaging: Intercultural communication as normalcy 
​Challenging and subverting monolingual and monocultural ideologies
Paving the way for new analytical and lived realities

Week 13
Closing and recap
Submission due: Outline for final paper (1-2 pages)

Assessment period (exact date tba)
Submission due: Final paper (1800 words)



Suggested Readings

Abello-Contesse, C. and M.D. López-Jiménez. 2016. “Challenges in the ‘Language and Culture’ Pedagogy as Promoted in Andalusia’s ‘Bilingual Schools Program’: The Case of (Inter)cultural Content in Secondary-School Textbooks”. In Downscaling Culture: Revisiting Intercultural Communication, edited by J.N. Singh, A. Kantara and D. Cserző, 165–91. Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars.
Baraldi, C. 2006. “New Forms of Intercultural Communication in a Globalized World”. International Communication Gazette 68(1):53– 69.
Baskerville, R.F. 2003. “Hofstede Never Studied Culture”. Accounting, Organizations and Society 28(1):1–14.
Blommaert, J. 2015. “Commentary: ‘Culture’ and Superdiversity”. Journal of Multicultural Discourse 10(1):22–24.
Bond, M.H., V. Žegarac and H. Spencer-Oatey. 2000. “Culture as an Explanatory Variable: Problems and Possibilities”. In Culturally Speaking: Managing Rapport through Talk across Cultures, edited by H. Spencer-Oatey, 47–71. London: Continuum.
Canagarajah, S.A. 2013. Translingual Practice: Global Englishes and Cosmopolitan Relations. Oxon: Routledge.
Dervin, F. and R. Machart, eds. 2015. Cultural Essentialism and Intercultural Relations. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
Gumperz, J.J. 1982. Discourse Strategies. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 
Gumperz, J.J. and J. Cook-Gumperz. 1982. “Interethnic Communication in Committee Negotiations”. In Language and Social Identity, edited by J.J. Gumperz, 145–62. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
Hall, E.T. 1976. Beyond Culture. New York: Doubleday. 
Halualani, R.T. and T.K. Nakayama. 2010. “Critical Intercultural Communication Studies: At a Crossroads”. In The Handbook of Critical Intercultural Communication, edited by T.K. Nakayama and R.T. Halualani, 1–16. Malden: Wiley-Blackwell. 
Hartog, J. 2006. “Beyond ‘Misunderstandings’ and ‘Cultural Stereotypes’: Analysing Intercultural Communication”. In Beyond Misunderstanding: Linguistic Analyses of Intercultural Communication, edited by K. Bührig and J.D. ten Thije, 175– 87. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. 
Hirsch, T. 2018. “Keeping Grandpa’s Stories and Grandma’s Recipes Alive: Exploring Family Language Policy in an Academic Preparation Program”. In Feeling It: Language, Race, and Affect in Latinx Youth Learning, edited by M. Bucholtz, D. Inés Casillas, J. Sook Lee, 169–86. New York: Routledge.
Hofstede, G. 1980. Culture’s Consequences: Comparing Values, Behaviors, Institutions, and Organizations across Nations. Beverly Hills: Sage.
— . 2001. Culture’s Consequences: Comparing Values, Behaviors, Institutions, and Organizations across Nations. Thousand Oaks: Sage. 
Hofstede, G., G.J. Hofstede and M. Minkov. 2010. Cultures and Organizations: Software of the Mind. New York: McGraw-Hill. 
Holliday, A. 1999. “Small Cultures”. Applied Linguistics 20(2):237–64. 
— . 2011. Intercultural Communication and Ideology. London: Sage. 
— . 2013. Understanding Intercultural Communication: Negotiating a Grammar of Culture. London: Routledge. 
Holliday, A., M. Hyde, and J. Kullmann, eds. 2004. Intercultural Communication: An Advanced Resource Book: London: Routledge. 
Hua, Z. 2014. Exploring Intercultural Communication: Language in Action. London: Routledge.
Kheirkhah, M. 2016. “Language Choice Negotiations in Parent-Child Interaction: Family Language Policy as a Collaborative Achievement”. In Downscaling Culture: Revisiting Intercultural Communication, edited by J.N. Singh, A. Kantara and D. Cserző, 228–53. Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars.
Kramsch, C. and E. Boner. 2010. “Shadows of Discourse: Intercultural Communication in Global Contexts”. In The Handbook of Language and Globalization, edited by N. Coupland, 495–519. Malden: Wiley-Blackwell.
Lazzaro-Salazar, M. 2016. “Downscaling Culture in Intercultural Interaction: The Case of Nurses’ Professional Values in New Zealand”. In Downscaling Culture: Revisiting Intercultural Communication, edited by J.N. Singh, A. Kantara and D. Cserző, 114–39. Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars.
Ma, L. 2004. “Is There an Essential Difference between Intercultural and Intracultural Communication?” Intercultural Communication 6. [online] Accessed 15 July 2014. nr6/lin.htm.
Piller, I. 2011. Intercultural Communication: A Critical Introduction. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. 
Sarangi, S. 1994. “Intercultural or Not? Beyond Celebration of Cultural Difference in Miscommunication Analysis”. Pragmatics 4(3):409–27. 
Scollon, R. and S. Scollon. 2001. Intercultural Communication: A  Discourse Approach. Oxford: Blackwell. 
Sharifian, F. and M. Jamarani. 2013. “Language and Intercultural Communication: From the Old Era to the New One”. In Language and Intercultural Communication in the New Era, edited by F. Sharifian and M. Jamarani, 1– 22. London: Routledge. 
Shi-xu. 2006. “Beyond Competence: A Multiculturalist Approach to Intercultural Communication”. In Beyond Misunderstanding: Linguistic Analyses of Intercultural Communication, edited by K. Bührig and J.D. ten Thije, 313– 30. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
Singh, J.N. 2016. “The Journey is its Own Reward: Downscaling Culture in Intercultural Communication Research. In Downscaling Culture: Revisiting Intercultural Communication, edited by J.N. Singh, A. Kantara and D. Cserző, 11–31. Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars.
Sorrells, K. 2012. “Intercultural Training in the Global Context”. In The Routledge Handbook of Language and Intercultural Communication, edited by J. Jackson, 372–89. Oxon: Routledge.
Thurlow, C. and A. Jaworski. 2010. Tourism Discourse: Language and Global Mobility. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
Victoria, M.P. 2016. “Blue Paint and White Underwear: Miscommunication and Humour in Intercultural Contexts”. In Downscaling Culture: Revisiting Intercultural Communication, edited by J.N. Singh, A. Kantara and D. Cserző, 92–113. Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars.
Wagener, A. 2012. “Deconstructing Culture: Towards an Interactional Triad”. Journal of Intercultural Communication 29. [online] Accessed 15 July 2014. 
Welsch, W. 1999. “Transculturality: The Puzzling Form of Cultures Today”. In Spaces of Culture: City, Nation, World, edited by M. Featherstone and S. Lash, 194–213. London: Sage.



Last updated: 12 July 2019