Multicultural Understanding 2735

Course Objectives

The objective of the course is to help candidates acquire an understanding of the significance of cultural differences for human relationships. The course will help students to reflect on their own concepts and attitudes in relation to how to react in various cultural contexts.

The candidate should thereby be able to act competently, and strengthen his/her ability to act competently when interacting with people with different cultural backgrounds; for instance, the candidate should be aware that Norwegian customs and cultural codes are not unique and that there are also other equivalent codes. Furthermore, the course will develop learning and reflection around the concepts that are used to define and analyse multicultural situations. Knowledge of, and reflection about, one’s own cultural pattern of behaviour is a necessary foundation for learning.

Course Description

The course has an interdisciplinary platform in the social sciences and humanities, with an emphasis on socio-anthropological theory and linguistics and communication theory. Multicultural Understanding provides an introduction to the study of the global diversity of cultures and the social processes which develop in these cultures. The course will attempt to demonstrate how the organisation of social life is related to how people perceive themselves, each other and their surroundings. It focuses on understanding the premises for people’s actions, categorisations and interactions with their environments. The course includes active participation in the form of discussion and dialogue; in particular, current topics in the media may be discussed.

Through the course students will acquire a basic understanding of and insight into:

  • Concepts which are used to define and examine multicultural questions
  • Cultural variations in forms of expression
  • Personal values, attitudes and approaches
  • Migration and globalisation

Learning Methods

The one-semester course comprises three main topics:

The first part of the course will provide an introduction through examining basic scientific concepts from the fields upon which this interdisciplinary course is based.

Society and globalisation: The society we live in is constantly changing. This part will consider some of the questions that may arise from increased globalisation. Through lectures and discussion groups; students will gain insight into the political, economic and cultural aspects of migration and globalisation.

Regional knowledge and multiculturalism: Regional knowledge constitutes a very important part of the course. In this context, the main characteristics of the culture and society of the region in question will be presented through syllabus literature and possibly also through excursions, ethnographic film, and discussion of debates in the media. Knowledge of multicultural questions in a local context is absolutely essential, if the student is to acquire personal and academic multicultural understanding.

The course includes lectures and group work.

Assessment Methods

Individual, midterm school examination (3 hours) counts for 30 % of the final grade (this examination will assess the student’s knowledge of the syllabus covered up to mid-term, including central concepts). Individual, home assignment (2 weeks) of roughly 2500-3000 words counts for 70 % of the final grade. Lettered grades from A to F, where E is the lowest passing grade. Both examinations must receive passing grades in order to achieve a final passing grade.

Minor adjustments may occur during the academic year, subject to the decision of the Dean

Publisert av / forfatter Birgit Norendal <>, last modified Ian Hector Harkness - 25/03/2011