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Meeting in the Melting Pot

How does your cultural background influence and shape your view of the world and of other people, and how do you interact with others as a result of this? How do belief systems, values and behaviors vary across cultures? We will focus especially on friendship and family relationships in this context. This class will explore these questions with a 3 fold approach: 

Firstly, we will be looking at the “hard facts” and examine relevant cross-cultural research. We will be focusing especially on the concepts of Individualism and Collectivism.

Secondly, we will combine those hard facts with contributions from fiction,  autobiographical narratives, film and radio that shed further light on the questions of our cross-cultural differences (or similarities!).

Lastly, we will draw from our personal experience: the final project of this class will be to develop a written narrative examining one's beliefs and values drawing on the material covered in the class.

In addition, there will be a group research project, where students will come up with their own research question and present their results to the class.

Required readings for this class will come from an immigrant anthology with fictional and autobiographical contributions, as well as scholarly articles.