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Intercultural Communication


Drzewiecka J.

Course director


Readings: Readings for this class are available through the USI library and on iCorsi.

This course advances understanding of how intensifying mobility of people and cultural objects across borders shapes culture, heritage, identity and intercultural interactions. We will examine what challenges and opportunities arise when groups come into temporary or extended contact, and how such contact can encourage mutual understanding and dialogue or perpetuate misunderstanding and stereotypes. We will thus discuss how the legacy of colonialism, European travel and the display of others in museums as well as current global structures perpetuate unequal relations. We will explore how we can promote interactions, cultural exchanges, or cultural consumption, particularly in fashion or tourism context, that can stimulate understanding and interactions across borders towards social justice for all. The course aims to enhance students’ knowledge and skills for informed and engaged global citizenship.

Lectures, readings, assignments and discussions are in English.

Class sessions

In-class sessions will be held every other week and recorded. Students will also be required to work in groups set up on Teams. Additional lectures and explanations will be posted in video format on Teams.


Group discussions 30%

Students are required to work in small groups on Teams to discuss assigned readings an answer questions posted by the professor. Each group will submit a written document for evaluation.

Students will be free to schedule their group meetings at a time that fits their schedule.

Students should inform the Assistant if there are any problems (for example a group member who never contributes or is not prepared, etc.,).


Exam: 70%

An original paper on a topic related to class material and student’s area of study/professional interests. Students should discuss their topics with the professor and have their topic approved. Options for the paper include:

  1. an analysis of how a specific item of clothing has changed and travelled to different places overtime and/or it’s changing meanings;
  2. an analysis of how “otherness”/cultural difference is represented in fashion or tourism advertising campaigns.
  3. a proposal for an intercultural tourism trip to a specific location with a full rationale including cultural knowledge about various groups and/or cultural heritage of the area; the paper should make it clear how this trip creates an intercultural experience in ways discussed in class and avoids simply gazing at the Others.
  4. an analysis of media texts (news, online comments, a film) representing a distinct cultural group, e.g., immigrants, black Italians, LGBTQ.

The analysis* should be based on 3 specific** theoretical ideas from class (e.g., cultural hybridity, othering, stereotyping, etc.) and critical review of 5 academic*** sources.

The paper should be about 3,000 to 3,500 words and must follow all standards of good writing (i.e., the paper should have an introduction and conclusions, the whole paper and each paragraph should be well-structured, quotes should be used minimally, no stringing of quotes, no plagiarism, references and full bibliography in consistent style, e.g., APA, etc.). You can find useful information at

The paper must be turned in between 14 December, 2020 and 15 January 2021 on iCorsi.


*“analysis” means identification of different aspects of a text/representation/item/history according to the concept, exploration of how the concept enlightens the meanings of the aspects/parts that are not readily apparent/visible, discussion of broader implications for the focus of the paper, and consideration of what new the author learned about the concepts.


**“specific” means that it is not broad and general such as “culture” or “identity” but addresses one specific aspect of the concept as presented in class.


***“academic” means peer reviewed articles from journals and books, documentaries and other media texts are NOT included in these category but they can subjects of analysis.

(subject to change)

21 Sept: Introduction

28 Sept – 2 Oct: Group setup, trial run

5 October: Culture and globalization

12 Oct – 16 Oct: Group discussion

William-Davidson, T. (2006). Sacred objects, art and nature in a global economy. In J. Mander & V. Tauli-Corpuz, (Eds.), Paradigm Wars; Indigenous peoples’ resistance to globalization, (115-133). Sierra Club Books: San Francisco.

19 Oct: Cultural identities

26 Oct – 30 Oct: Group discussion                  

Almila, A. M. (2015). Fashion, anti-fashion, non-fashion and symbolic capital: the uses of dress among Muslim minorities in Finland. Fashion Theory, 20, 81-102. 

Frisina, A & Hawthorne, C. (2018). Italians with veils and Afros: gender, beauty, and the everyday anti-racism of the daughters of immigrants in Italy. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 44, 718-735.

2 Nov: Cultural differences: Self and its Others

Nov 9 – Nov 13: Group discussion

Edwards, L. & Ramamurthy, A. (2017). (In)credible India? A critical analysis of India’s nation branding. Communication, Culture & Critique, 10, 322–343.

16 Nov: Cultural heritage and globalization

23 Nov – 27 Nov: Group discussion

Bryce, D & Čaušević, S. (2019). Orientalism, Balkanism and Europe's Ottoman heritage. Annals of Tourism Research, 77, 92-105            

30 Nov: Stereotypes and prejudice

7 Dec – 11 Dec: Group discussion

McAllum, K.  & Zahra, A. (2017) The positive impact of othering in voluntourism: The role of the relational other in becoming another self. Journal of International and Intercultural Communication, 10, 291-308.

Hammond, C. (2018). Stitching time: artisanal collaboration and slow fashion in post-disaster Haiti. Fashion Theory.

14 Dec: Fashion and tourism as intercultural communication