Communication Challenges for the Health of Humankind
Globalization of modernity and inherent sustainability issues are taking a visible toll on the health and well-being of humankind. Global crises like the Covid-pandemic or climate change are showing us serious weaknesses in human communication. In the coming years, more successful communication will become increasingly important for our health and peaceful coexistence. Will we succeed or fail in uniting humankind to confront its grand challenges together? This is one of the most existential questions ever encountered, and it is addressed to communication science.
The objective of this course is to help students understand the role and potency of human communication in emerging global health matters, and to provide students with the communicative competence to participate in these discussions in a unifying way, as these skills are becoming increasingly crucial. Throughout the course, we will focus on three themes: (1) human nature, human health, and the nature of human communication;
(2) communication themes that are rapidly arising in the context of globalization and the digital age; and (3) future challenges to the health of humankind, and opportunities therein for the field of communication.
Throughout this course, students will actively engage in readings, media resources and interactive class discussions on “grand challenges” and current “hot topics.” Students will be encouraged to focus these discussions to their own specific interests to make them more tangible to their own lives. They will also be asked to consider the role of technology in supporting a healthier communication for a healthier future of humankind.
In this course, students will…
- learn about human nature and the nature of human communication
- distinguish between human needs, human wants, and variations across cultures and time
- explore human communication themes in the context of globalization and the digital age
- reflect on the boundaries of ethics, science and technology in defining “competence” and our future communication with one another
- recognize the role and potency of communication in emerging global matters that challenge the health and well-being of humankind
- discover opportunities for the field of communication to unite humans in confronting these global challenges together.
What makes us human? • Human needs and wants • Human adaptability • What is our “health”? • Human communication compared to other species • Current and future challenges for the health of humankind • Boundaries of ethics, science and technology • Challenges and opportunities for the field of communication.
Students will receive the readings for this course digitally on icorsi.
Final exam (70 points)
There will be a cumulative final exam that tests your synthesis and application of concepts discussed in the course readings and in the class meetings.
Final project (30 points)
Detailed information about the final project will be provided in class.
The success of this course greatly depends on student participation. Therefore, this course requires in-person attendance. Only students who have attended at least 80% of the classroom sessions will be admitted to the final project/exam. Additional missed classes (>20%) are only excused for severe, officially attested reasons (e.g., a medical certificate testifying that a student was unable to come to class).