Introduction to Intercultural Communication

In this course we will deal with the technical terms, the basic concepts, and some of the different approaches to Intercultural Communication. Doing intercultural communication in a small group, we will discuss what “culture” actually is and what happens when you want to share it – obviously a matter of high importance in a globalized world. We will come across ‘critical incidents’, ‘rich points’ and ‘hot spots’, obstacles that make it so hard to communicate successfully with people from different backgrounds. And we will hopefully become more careful and sensitive by learning, what linguists, anthropologists and sociologists have to say on the topic. Raised awareness and a good idea of what Intercultural Communication is about will facilitate your access to ICEUS.

Teaching Plan:
As members of an intercultural group the students can be their own “learning material”. This means they are expected to take an active part in the various course activities. There will be discussions on the basis of the assigned texts, of ‘critical incidents’, of best-practice and/or media-based examples.
Students will occasionally be asked to take part in role-play.

You will be required to give a presentation and write a short paper, based on relevant literature. Regular attendance and doing assignments are mandatory.


Ilka Gersemann

Studiengangskoordinatorin M.A. Intercultural Communication and European Studies

Gebäude 22 , Raum 104
Ilka Gersemann+49 661 9640-470
Di und Mi jeweils 11:00 - 12:00 Uhr und nach besonderer Vereinbarung per E-Mail. Webex-Raum:

Seminar: Introduction into the Social Sciences

In this seminar we will discuss the basic concepts of the social sciences, in particular of political science and sociology. This seminars aims mainly to introduce into the political and social system of Germany, its history and culture.  Germany is a constitutional state with great emphasis on human rights due to its experiences in the past with national-socialism. Additional it is trying to find a third way between free-market economy and social security. Germany is a federal state with relatively autonomous “states”, Länder, like Hesse, Bavaria and with their own parliament. The traumatic experience with the “German Sonderweg”, a rigid combination of militarism and economic-technical-industrial modernism, is a sign on the wall for the newly industrialized nations to find a liable balance between the different forms of modernity.

In the twenty-first century the rise of the formerly “poorer nations”,  the newly industrialized nations resp. the global south is inevitable. Based on this observation we can already observe a shift of the power centers of the world from the West to Asia. A multipolar world is born. Nevertheless almost all
of the concepts of the social sciences are still determined by a western understanding of modernity; just think for example of modernity itself, but also with respect to democracy, human rights, the difference of 'power over' and 'power to' (Hannah Arendt), we can easily detect a European apprehension of political and societal relations. By highlighting the tensions between a European understanding of these concepts and the need for their transformation in light of the rise of the non-Western World, this seminars aims to initiate a dialogue in order to better understand German politics.

The Blackwell Encyclopedia of political thought. Edited by David Miller et. al. Oxford 1991.
Online: The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy:
Edkins, Jenny and Zehfuss, Maja (eds.), Global Politics. (Routledge, 2014).
Acharya, Amitav, Rethinking power, institutions and ideas in world politics. (Routledge 2014).