In the current globalized century, the world is more religiously diverse than at any other point in history. Frequently, religious and belief-based conflicts divide communities and cultures. Miscommunication can often occur when religious and spiritual diversity is coupled with one’s understanding and interpretation of their own, and other’s identities. Pluralistic-centered communication combined with provocative and meaningful encounters between diverse peoples can play a substantial part in building social cohesion and bridging divides. Regardless of discipline or career path, governments, employers and communities need citizens who can initiate, facilitate, and skillfully guide difficult yet transformative conversations across contentious social issues.
“Interfaith and Inclusive Communication” engages communication theory and research methods to understand and assess communication across lines of religious and belief-based identities. In addition to a solid theoretical background, students will develop practical interpersonal and group communication competencies to encourage pro-social engagement. More specifically, this course will advance students’ appreciative knowledge about various belief-systems in the countries we visit and promote the application of concepts through classroom engagement practice and in-port experiential learning.
Field WorkCountry: South Africa
Date: March 18, 2020
Students will explore museums and sacred sites accompanied by local religious leaders of the Cape Town Interfaith Initiative, who represent a variety of beliefs including Khoi San, African Traditional, Brahma Kumaris, Buddhist, Hindu, Christian and Jewish. The field class provides a unique chance of experiential learning about multiculturalism, globalization, diasporic communities, colonial legacies and how interfaith engagement is healing deep historical division in South Africa.
1. Visit sacred historical sites that give context to both division and collaboration among different beliefs in South Africa
2. Recognize significant and complex intersections of faith, belief, identity, privilege, and culture within Cape Town
3. Observe and engage with various religious and belief-based identities active in Cape Town
4. Observe and reflect on interdisciplinary communication theories focused on engagement between diverse religious and belief-based identities