CMN 103

Intercultural Communication

Spring 2011


Dr. Daniel Makagon                                                              

Office: 14 East Jackson, #1828

Office Hours: Monday 1:30-2:30 and by appointment                     

Phone: (312) 362-7979


home page:



Course Objectives


This course explores relationships among communication, intercultural cohesion, and intercultural conflict. We will consider the important role of context (social, cultural, and historical) in intercultural interactions across a variety of cultural groups (e.g., different nationalities, ethnicities, gender, sexualities, classes, and subcultures). Questions about cultural experience and meaning will primarily be located in everyday life, although we will connect the everyday to broader social, political, and economic issues. This course should facilitate greater understanding of the nuances of intercultural communication, enhancing self-reflection, flexibility, and sensitivity.



Required Texts


All course readings are available on-line. Download and print the files.



Course Assignments


Class Participation (includes intercultural context presentation)          10%  ____(pts.) X .10 = ______


Analysis Paper (4-6 pages)                                                                 30%  ____(pts.) X .30 = ______


Quizzes                                                                                               30%  ____(pts.) X .30 = ______


Final Paper (4-6 pages)                                                                       30%  ____(pts.) X .30 = ______



Final Grade= ____________


You are required to complete the reading assignments before you attend class. This will lead to more fruitful discussion.


Analysis Paper


The Analysis Paper should be 4-6 double-spaced pages in length. This paper asks you to analyze an issue or concept that emerges for you based on your intellectual engagement with a course reading or set of readings from a single date. While I want your paper to grow from a particular course reading, your approach to the topic should reflect your own theoretical interests. After completing the reading, you will seek out two different types of intercultural contexts that reflect the issue or concept (e.g., a current or historical political issue, a film, an episode of a TV show, a newspaper article or NPR story, etc.). The analysis paper will show how the concept or issue is reflected in the two different examples. You will also discuss how the issue or concept is addressed in similar and/or different ways when comparing the course materials with your outside sources. Finally, the paper will discuss why and how the issue or concept is important. A complete description of the assignment is contained in the writing handout/syllabus addendum in the folder where you find our course readings.


This paper must be turned in no later than seven days after we cover the reading (e.g., if you're writing about Eric Klinenberg, "Dying Alone" then your paper would be due April 18). The last date to turn in this paper is May 11 (which means you would be writing about an issue that emerges from engagement with Laurel Sutton's chapter or Gil Rodman's article).


All papers must be typed, paginated, and double-spaced throughout the entire essay. Use a consistent style (e.g., Chicago, MLA, or APA), one-inch margins, and 12-point font. Do not send me electronic copies of your work for this assignment. See the syllabus addendum (available in the folder that contains pdfs for this class: writing_handout) for a description of my grading policies and expectations as well as further details about written assignments.


Contact or visit the Writing Center for assistance with your writing:; or Lincoln Park at 773-325-4272 and The Loop at 312-362-6726.


Pop Quizzes


Quizzes will be short answer and will allow me to gauge how well you understand the arguments made in the readings. Unlike your papers and class discussion, where I am interested in your opinions about the issues and the strength of the writer's argument(s), the quizzes are designed for you to state the author's argument only. In other words, I am not striving to understand what you think about the issues; rather, I am interested in how well you understand the construction of the author's argument. If we do not understand what s/he's saying then our critique of her/his work will not be properly grounded. Possible points for each quiz question will be listed after the question (usually 10 or 20 points per question and usually 1-3 questions per quiz). Answers will be graded based on your ability to clearly summarize the author's argument(s) and use examples from the reading to support your answer(s).


Final Paper


For this paper you are asked to select three readings from the quarter from three different sections and discuss the ways in which these three readings have facilitated your increased understanding of intercultural communication. Your essay should be 4-6 double-spaced pages in length. Papers are due June 6 by 3:10PM. Email your paper to me unless you want written feedback. (A full description of the assignment is available in the folder that contains pdfs for this class.)


Intercultural Context


The goal of this assignment is to offer material examples of intercultural practices and artifacts, allowing us to make connections between the realm of theory and our everyday lives. Each class member will share one (1) cultural artifact (song, clip from a film or TV show, excerpt from a newspaper, comic, documentary sound recording, piece of clothing, etc.) during a class session. Your presentation should explicitly address why and how the artifact connects to intercultural communication. The presentation shouldn't take more than 2-3 minutes. Your artifact can connect directly to a course reading or you can share something that reflects an intercultural context that is not covered in class. Also note that the presentation is part of your class participation grade. If you do not present then you cannot earn an "A" for your participation grade. I will grade your presentation on a credit/no credit basis. Presentations will occur on 4/20 and 5/9. Finally, your artifact can not be used in your Analysis Paper (i.e., if you are writing about a film in your analysis paper, you would not show a clip from that film for your intercultural context presentation).


Course Policies


Attendance and Active Participation are expected and required. Participation grades are factored by considering how often you participate in class discussion and how that discussion advances our overall learning (i.e., I will consider how your questions help us understand difficult passages, how your contributions further discussion rather than hinder discussion, how your comments foster lively debate, how your participation grows from an engagement with the reading and college experience rather than functioning to advance an autobiographical tale only). In short, I assess participation based on quantity and quality.


Promptness is expected as a general rule. If you are consistently late to class, your grade will be negatively affected.


You are allowed one (1) unexcused absence in this class and three (3) absences total if at least two or those absences are excused. If you miss more than three class sessions with at least two of those absences being excused, or if you have more than one unexcused absence, then you will receive an "F" for the class. Missing this many class sessions undermines the integrity of the classroom experience. Arriving more than 10 minutes late to class or leaving early will constitute an absence. If you exceed the quantity of allowed absences because of illness or a family emergency, you should meet with the Dean of Students office to discuss withdrawal options.


All assignments are due on assigned days. There will be NO MAKE UPS. Documented illnesses or documented emergencies are the only exception to this policy. Changes in work schedules, personal celebrations (e.g., birthdays), or vacations are NOT considered to be legitimate reasons for missing assignment deadlines or class meetings. If you miss a quiz and have documentation for your absence then you will take the quiz on the next date you attend class. Similarly, if you have an excused absence for a class session when you would turn in a paper then you can submit the paper on the next date you attend class. If you will be missing a class because of a religious holiday, let me know in writing at least two weeks before the holiday so we can make arrangements to make up missed work.


Students with disabilities should provide me with documentation from the Office of Students with Disabilities or the PLUS Program.


Cellular Phones: If you have a cellular phone or pager, turn it off or set it to vibrate, and keep it in your backpack or purse. All cell phones must be put away during the class session. I will confiscate cellular phones for the remainder of the class session if you are sending or reading text messages or using your phone to check email/surf the Internet.


Written Assignment Requirements: All papers should be typed, double spaced, and use a consistent style (e.g., MLA, APA, etc.). Use one-inch margins and 12-point font. Further details on written assignments can be found in a syllabus addendum on writing academic papers.


You must make sure your preferred email address listed in Campus Connect is correct and make sure emails from me will pass through any spam blockers. I will only send email to you from



I have often found that plagiarism becomes tempting if students are feeling pressured. Remember, when in doubt quote. If you are quoting someone else in your presentation, you need to clearly identify the information as a quote and the source. Similarly, when paraphrasing, you should clearly identify your source. If you are quoting somebody directly in your paper then you need to list the information within quotation marks and cite a page number. If you are paraphrasing then you need to cite the person and a page number. Never copy and paste entire documents into your paper and do not quote others to the point where your ideas become indistinguishable from your source's ideas. There is no reason to plagiarize given the resources available to you (e.g., opportunities to meet with me; coaches in the writing center; my handout on writing for the class; and DePaul's policy on academic integrity, which can be found at If you do plagiarize, you will automatically receive a grade of "F" in this class. Moreover, the Academic Affairs office will be contacted.


Grade Scale


93-100             A                     78-79   C+                  

90-92               A-                    73-77   C                    

88-89               B+                   70-72   C-                   

83-87                                   60-69  D

80-82               B-                    0-59    F