Francesco Goglia (University of Exeter)


Course description
This course will introduce students to the core concepts and topics of intercultural communication. In our increasingly globalized society, the ability to communicate across cultures is essential. This is evident in multinational corporations, cosmopolitan cities, and international educational institutions like VIU, which, while using English as medium of instruction, hosts students from numerous countries and cultural backgrounds. Navigating such culturally rich contexts demands the development of intercultural awareness and competence to ensure effective functioning. The course will equip students with an understanding of the principal theoretical frameworks and approaches that define the field. Through the course, students will explore key concepts including culture, identity, language, culture shock, acculturation, prejudice, othering, and both verbal and non-verbal communication, as well as the media representation of cultures. Moreover, students will engage in practical learning by collecting, analysing, and discussing their field data from specific intercultural settings. The diverse nationalities within our student body, combined with the unique Venetian context, will serve as invaluable resources. Students will have the opportunity to leverage their personal experiences of cross-cultural encounters to deepen their understanding of crucial concepts and contribute to class discussions. This course not only aims to build foundational knowledge in intercultural communication but also to foster a space where students can learn from each other’s experiences, thereby enhancing their intercultural competence and readiness to navigate our interconnected world.

Learning outcomes
This course will provide students with an understanding of the key theoretical notions and concepts in Intercultural Communication as well as their relevance in multilingual and multicultural contexts, and in particular in academic environments. They will learn to examine and provide a critical discussion of the main components involved in intercultural encounters, especially those related to language. The course will also help students to develop strategies and practical solutions to handling intercultural encounters as well as the ability to engage with research on an individual topic.

Teaching methods
The course will be taught through a combination of lectures, seminar discussion of weekly readings, assignments and small-group exercises. The lectures will introduce each topic. The seminars will include a series of student-led activities: presentations, students will take turns to lead discussion and organise small-group tasks. There will be one or two readings per week (around 20/30 pages). The course places considerable emphasis on collaborative forms of learning.

- All students will contribute to a Padlet wall ‘Intercultural Communication’, through which they will build up a shared portfolio of material (text extracts, photos, comments on a particular topic, students’ reports on cases of intercultural communication from their experience in their countries of origin and during their stay in Venice in interactions with Italians and flatmates from other countries).
- A discussion forum will allow students to ask any questions on the course or the readings.
- Students will be asked to discuss topics in small groups in advance of seminars and prepare seminar assignments together sometimes in the form of data collection or watching a video.

Introduction to the course: challenges of living in a global society Understanding Communication
Language, Communication and Culture Language and Identity
Verbal and Nonverbal Communication Ethnocentrism and Othering Immigration and Acculturation
Popular Culture and Intercultural Communication Intercultural Communication in the Digital Sphere Decolonising Communication
Managing intercultural conflict
Art and Intercultural Communication

Invited guest lectures via Zoom:
- Ms Monica De Bortoli (Manager at Selfridges department stores, London) on intercultural communication in a global department store
- Prof Anne Pauwels (SOAS/University of Melbourne) Intercultural encounters: exploring the multilingual soundscapes
Trip in Venice:
- Visit at Casa di Amadou association for migrants

Teaching Assessment
1. Individual Presentation (25% of the final mark) on case study of intercultural communication and a media representation (an advert, a situation comedy, a newspaper article, a movie, a poster, etc.) in week 8.
2. Group Presentation (25%) of the final mark) on the representation of a minority on newspaper articles cross-culturally in week 11
3. Essay (2,000 words) (50% of the final mark). The tutor will provide a list of questions; alternative questions may be possible, but only in consultation with the tutor. Students will be encouraged to collect data to analyse in their essay (interviews, photos, observations, recorded conversations, etc.). Students will be taught how to deal with ethical issue in data collection.

Bibliography/Recommended Reading
Coulmas, Florian. 2005. Sociolinguistics. Cambridge: CUP.
Fasold, Ralph. 1987. The sociolinguistics of society. Oxford: Blackwell.
Hickey, L. and Stewart, M. (eds.). 2005. Politeness in Europe. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters. Holliday, A., Kullman, J., and Hyde, M. 2010. Intercultural communication: An advanced resource book, Routledge.
Hua, Z. (Ed.) 2011. The Language and Intercultural Communication Reader. Routledge: London Jackson, Jane. 2014. Introducing language and intercultural communication. Oxon: Routledge. Jandt, Fred E. 2016. An introduction to intercultural communication. London: sage.
Kádár, D. and Haugh, M. 2013. Understanding Politeness. Cambridge: CUP.
Lakoff, G. and Johnson, M. 1980. Metaphors We Live By. London: University of Chicago Press. Liu, S., Volcic, Z., and Gallois, C. 2014. Introducing Intercultural Communication. London: Sage. Martin, Judith and Thomas K. Nakayama. 2003. Intercultural communication in contexts.
Crawfordsville: Mayfield.
Myers-Scotton, Carol. 2006. Multiple Voices: an introduction to bilingualism. Oxford: Blackwell. Piller, Ingrid. 2011. Intercultural communication. A critical introduction. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.
Watts, R. 2003. Politeness. Cambridge: CUP.
Wierzbicka, A. 2003. Cross-cultural Pragmatics: the semantics of human interaction. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. Available as an e-resource.
Wierzbicka, A. 1997. Understanding Cultures Through their Key Words, Oxford: OUP.



Last updated: June 14, 2024


Isola di San Servolo
30133 Venice,

phone: +39 041 2719511
fax:+39 041 2719510

VAT: 02928970272