Representative Selected Topics Courses
Undergraduates are able to incorporate the study of international communication into their undergraduate curriculum in international studies within SIS. They may take a number of IC courses as part of the BA in International Studies, or the BA in Language and Area Studies. Both degrees allow students to take IC courses that range from topics such as cross-cultural communication, foundations of international communication, strategic communication and national security, information society and development, the global knowledge economy, and information technology in China, among many others. Additional undergraduate courses in international communication are being continually developed.
The IC Program features one of the most comprehensive, wide ranging, and interdisciplinary course offerings of any program in the field. Course topics cover practically every aspect of international communication studies and new courses are continuously under development by our distinguished faculty experts, scholars and professional practitioners. Courses are offered in the following categories: undergraduate courses, graduate courses, and skills institutes. The program also experiments with new course designs, such as: research abroad and field research, collaborative learning with international communication professionals visiting the US, online and virtual classrooms with leading international experts at universities abroad, international internships, joint courses co-taught with faculty in other professional schools such as the Kogod School of Business and the School of Communication, and combinations of strategic, analytical and content production courses.
Social Media and Cultural-Political Transformation
This course explores the increasingly significant global role of digital social media in creating cultural-political transformative changes in countries and regions worldwide. From social media-driven movements among indigenous groups and cultural, environmental and human rights activists in Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa, to uprisings for cultural and political change in conflict zones of North Africa, Middle East and South Asia, to cutting-edge cultural-political applications in dynamically changing societies of Southeast Asia and East Asia, we examine prominent international illustrations of social media trends and patterns in the 21st century. Students have an opportunity to track concrete social media uses in real-time in different national, cultural and political contexts, assess and offer cross-cultural comparisons, and develop meaningful analyses useful for professional advancement relevant to both the public and private sectors.
International Communication and Cultural Policy
This course for students and professionals in communication and culture, media, creative arts, public policy and international affairs, explores some of the most important areas of national, comparative and international policy shaping communication and culture in 21st century. The course helps students to develop policy expertise for use in areas such as: press freedoms, media and film policy; Internet policy, new digital media policy, and Internet censorship; intellectual property rights and foreign policy related to trade in cultural products and service; and constitutional rights of freedom of expression in comparative context. Particular emphasis is given to national arts policy and cultural policies that: protect cultural rights of minorities; promote production and dissemination of new creative arts; preserve the national heritage in cultural traditions, national endowments and museums; construct and define national and cultural identity; support and subsidize national cultural industries; apply cultural content quotas; design and implement language policy; and defend cultural sovereignty.
Cyber-Conflict in Global Perspective
As many institutions throughout the globe are increasingly dependent on communication networks for many vital political, economic, and social functions, so too do they become targets for disruption in conflict situations. This course will examine the history and evolution of cyber-warfare pursued by both State and non-state actors, policy responses to potential evolving conflicts, and the international legal framework for understanding and mitigating cyber-based conflicts.
Field Research in Health Communication
Review of communication approaches in more than twenty countries. Field research methods including formative and summative evaluation research. Also includes research on social norms and social networks in behavior and social change; and on roles of NGOs in effective health communication endeavors.
Global Innovation without Frontiers: Cultural, Social and Political Dimensions
The capacity for innovation will determine to a large extent the future of most nations, cultures and organizations. This course focuses on the cultural, social and political dimensions of global innovation and knowledge economy in comparative context. We explore innovation across a number of sectors including: the future of culture, media, arts, entertainment and education; science-based industries such as bio-tech, info-tech, enviro-tech, the new space-based economy, smart cities, and geography of innovation clusters; and the impact of innovation on processes, methods, practices and institutions within culture, society and international affairs. Students investigate the dynamics of innovation as applied to actual cases, industries, organizations and national initiatives in diverse cultural contexts. By understanding innovation through applied analysis students gain strategic assessment skills on a critically important and cutting-edge phenomenon with broad-based professional salience.
Health Communication Across Borders
This course focuses on low-income immigrants and refugee populations in the U.S. and applies a family and community perspective to the study of their health and well-being. A community perspective recognizes the impact of economic, political, and socio-cultural context on health in general, and of inequalities rooted in policies and conditions from the global (e.g. the need for family remittances in the face of poverty) to the local (e.g. access to a livable wage) on the health of immigrant populations in specific. A family centered perspective recognizes the influence of family and cross-generational dynamics in the decision to immigrate and to seek health care, as well as the contribution of grandparents, mothers, fathers, and children to a family’s economic and physical well-being. Both perspectives assume the critical role played by people in determining policies and designing programs that affect their lives. Moreover, we will learn about the importance of adopting a multicultural approach to understanding community problems and assets, and designing and evaluating interventions with ethnically diverse communities.
Health Communication in Developing Countries
A semester-length course on communication for health would build on the topics presented in the Skills Institute.It would add four additional areas:1) an examination of policies for communication for health and development, including public/private sector incentives, 2) an analysis of the relationships of communication for health with print and broadcast media, including community media, 4) information technologies development in health communication, and 3) journalist training and ethics for health communication.
The Politics of Global Media
This course examines the implications of increasingly global print, broadcast and digital media on the cultural and political transformation associated with the term "globalization." The course will consider the critical issues raised by global media, and how they impact notions of national and cultural sovereignty, reflect international institutional transformation, and represent new avenues for information-based foreign policy and public diplomacy. Some of the key issues covered in the course include international media production and content flow, nationalism, new media technology, diaspora and conceptions of audience, international news, and media regulation.
Public diplomacy is generally defined as understanding, engaging, informing, and influencing foreign publics. This course provides an understanding of the history and dynamics of U.S. public diplomacy; knowledge of strategies and techniques for advocating policy and influencing opinion and behavior of international audiences in a Web 2.0 age; skills to communicate, especially in writing; an understanding of how to analyze key data, including opinion polls and audience surveys; and an ability to engage with the key moral, political, and practical dimensions of public diplomacy.
Race, Class and Power in International and Intercultural Education
“International education can as easily be an instrument of antagonism as one of benevolence, one of manipulation as one of cooperation, and it can as easily involve complete isolation as it can constant interchange” (Smart, 1971, 442). In this interactive seminar, we will critically consider the goals, design, and experience of international and intercultural education. Using case studies, this course will examine the role that race, class, and power play in international education and will focus on how identity, institutional biography, and culture structure interpretations and interactions in cross-cultural contexts. Students will gain the frameworks and skills necessary to design and implement culturally-responsive international and intercultural education programs. Designed for prospective international trainers, program managers, and educators, we will focus on the educational arena but this course will be broadly applicable to anyone planning to work in diverse environments.
Social Entrepreneurship: Culture, Communication and Change
The last decade has seen an increase both in scholarly work related to the field of social entrepreneurship and in the number of social entrepreneurship organizations around the world. Social entrepreneurship directly matches the mission of American University and the distinctive strengths of the School of International Service with its research on international and cross-cultural communication, conflict resolution, development, organization and politics and its tradition of linking multidisciplinary theory to ethical practice in order to make a difference in the world. This course introduces students to the field of social entrepreneurship in a global perspective, focusing on communication and leadership. Involves teamwork, communication technologies, and case studies of organizations and partnerships that make a difference.
Strategic Communication, Intelligence & National Security
The objective of this course is to explore in detail the rising importance of communications factors in international relations as a strategic instrument of foreign policy and as a source of international conflict.The course will concentrate on strategic intelligence collection, including the growth of intelligence gathering technologies, information-based military operations, cyber security and vulnerabilities, and the interaction of communications with transnational actors.The course will also explore the current national structures of intelligence systems and decision-making processes, the role of so-called “information operations,” and basic principles in the modern, network communications basis for the command and control of military forces.Also included will be a comparative examination of specific cases where communications have been a major factor in either an escalation or de-escalation of hostilities.
Theater of Terror: Modern Terrorism & Mass Media
Modern terrorism relies on the mass media for publicity, recognition, psychological impact, political achievements and other purposes. This course examines the relationships between modern terrorists and the mass media, how terrorists use the media, the recent presence of terrorists on the Internet and the threat of cyberterrorism, how democracies can respond to the challenge, and the social and political cost of various measures.
Tourism & Globalization
This course will examine the relationship between culture, communication and the political economy of tourism. Among the key topics to be covered are the emergence of "pleasure" trips in the colonial era, the expansion of the middle classes and mass vacations, late 20th century adoption of tourism as a development strategy, and the role of ICTs in tourism development.. Students will be asked to critically examine the genesis of different modes of tourism, e.g., ecotourism, ethnotourism and sex tourism in various regions of the world.