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Introduction to Intercultural/International Studies

Course Code: IDST 1103
Faculty: Language, Literature & Performing Arts
Department: Interdisciplinary Studies
Credits: 3.0
Semester: 15
Learning Format: Lecture, Seminar
Typically Offered: TBD. Contact Department Chair for more info.
course overview

In this course students will be introduced to diverse methodologies in the liberal arts, and to ways these can be used to examine questions of intercultural and international import. The course will focus on one theme, such as identity or globalization, which will be approached in an integrated manner by one co-ordinating instructor and by at least four other instructors from the liberal arts. Students will be exposed to a wide range of texts and exercises designed to broaden their awareness of cultural patterns and paradigms, and to increase their understanding of the way people from one culture interact and negotiate with those from another.

Course Content

This course will focus on one theme of international and intercultural importance (for instance, identity, human rights, globalism or technology) and will examine this theme from the vantage points of at least five liberal arts disciplines.  The course will be introduced and co-ordinated by one instructor, who will arrange and connect the various lectures and seminars of the participating instructors in a way that gives the course a logical structure and flow.

Course content will differ substantially in years when different themes are taught.  Content will differ less in years when the same theme is taught (assuming that some or many of the instructors are able to teach in consecutive years). 

N.B.  The following is only an example of course content on the theme of identity, and will not necessarily reflect the configuration of disciplines and topics in subsequent years.


  • Psychological methods for examining culture and identity
  • Researching, describing, and managing multiple cultural identities; implications of variance in identity
  • Cross-cultural learning, as in Confucian and Socratic traditions

Communications and Modern Languages

  • Cross-cultural learning, as in Kluckholhn and Strodbeck's concept of value orientations
  • Diverse communication styles, as in Lisa Stefani's analysis of culture in the classroom
  • West and East: how the Chinese language shapes thought and feeling; acculturation in China


  • Perceptions of place, as in Yi Fu Tuan's principles of public space and topophilia
  • Identity and sense of place: mental maps and perceptions of place

Political Science

  • The role of 'nationalist' identity in conflicts, as in the Balkans, Northern Ireland, and the Middle East
  • Political cleavages and relationships between dominant and minority groups
  • The attempt to preserve identity within free trade, as in negotiating elements of the WTO and NAFTA


  • The ways writers construct a sense of identity, as in Nabil Gorgy's short story "Cairo is a Small City"
  • Western identity: Classical and Christian fusions, as in the poetry of John Milton or Derek Walcott
  • Cross-cultural identity crisis in a novel, as in Christopher Koch's The Year of Living Dangerously

Methods of Instruction

Methods of instruction include, but are not limited to, the following: lectures accompanied with audio-visual learning aids, interdisciplinary round table discussions and panels, team-teaching, class discussions and debates, small group work, role-playing, workshops, student-generated question and answer sessions, independent study of specific topics, and field trips.

Means of Assessment

Will comply with College policy.

Evaluation will be based on this general outline:

One term paper worth at least 25% of the final grade

One mid-term exam and one final exam

Other means of assessment - such as quizzes, journals, presentations, participation - to be presented to students in the course outline at the start of classes.

Learning Outcomes

Successful students will:

  • increase their understanding of methodologies used in various disciplines in the liberal arts
  • increase their appreciation for the way these methodologies can be used to examine questions of culture and nationality
  • increase their critical awareness of their own points of cultural reference
  • increase their awareness of, and sensitivity to, different modes of thought and belief
  • increase their understanding of pertinent intercultural and international issues
  • increase their knowledge of some of the larger paradigms and traditions that lie behind culture
  • increase their understanding of ways to negotiate or accommodate other points of cultural reference

curriculum guidelines

Course Guidelines for previous years are viewable by selecting the version desired. If you took this course and do not see a listing for the starting semester/year of the course, consider the previous version as the applicable version.

course schedule and availability
course transferability

Below shows how this course and its credits transfer within the BC transfer system. 

A course is considered university-transferable (UT) if it transfers to at least one of the five research universities in British Columbia: University of British Columbia; University of British Columbia-Okanagan; Simon Fraser University; University of Victoria; and the University of Northern British Columbia.

For more information on transfer visit the BC Transfer Guide and BCCAT websites.


If your course prerequisites indicate that you need an assessment, please see our Assessment page for more information.