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Understanding Russians: Contexts of Intercultural Communication (Coursera)

Learn about the intercultural communication process using Russian –Western communication as an example. Look at the interrelations between different contexts (cultural, institutional, professional, social, interpersonal) of communication focusing on cultural history and national psychology of Russians.

In the course “Understanding Russians: Contexts of Intercultural Communications”: we will:

1) Build skills in the analysis of the intercultural communication process using Russian-Western communication as an example.

2) Apply the knowledge of interrelations between different contexts of communication (cultural, institutional, professional, social, interpersonal, etc.) to the cultural history and national psychology of Russians.

The purpose of the course is to provide the students with a broad overview of the basic principles governing the past, the present and the future interactions between Russia and the West, with a focus on the culture and national psychology of Russians and Western Europeans.

For example, we will look at the cases when basic cultural values of Russians show up through the linguistic choices shaping language production which is consequently misattributed by Western partners. No matter what the language of intercultural communication is – Russian, or English – the meaning of many linguistic expressions may be reconstructed wrongly by the representatives of another culture.

Some of the basic questions we will tackle are:

• What are the concepts of culture that have the strongest influence on communication?

• What are Russian basic cultural values and how they shape modern Russian consciousness?

• What are the specific communication patterns of modern Russians, including those of public and electronic discourse?

• What is important to know about communication with Russians in organizational contexts?

Importantly, this course is NOT just a list of practical instructions of dos and don’ts of dealing with Russians. The course contains a substantial academic component introducing the key notions and concepts of the Theory of Communication, which will be extensively introduced throughout the first few modules of the course. These theoretical grounds will be further on used as a tool for analyzing the intercultural communications with Russians.