CoursesArt as Intercultural Dialogue
VLST 2140-301

Art as Intercultural Dialogue

Thursdays, 12:00 pm-2:59 pm.

Art, dialogue theory and cultural differences come together in this experiential course. Students will explore and learn about all three of these components. They will experience true dialogue and learn about it. They will engage in interpersonal encounters with art, the key driver of cultural content for this course. Art will provide a neutral platform for perceiving cultural differences through careful exploration, verbal description, and an exchange of insights into ways artists express concerns, biases, and world views. Students will engage in dialogues to inquire into these and other personal and cultural differences, thereby participating in intercultural communication.

Altogether the course will offer a safe space for students to exchange cultural and personal points of view as expressed in many forms of art and to then participate in dialogues that delve into these rich and complex forms of expression. True dialogue is not a discussion or argumentation aimed to unveil a single truth. True dialogue is a co-creation, a creative process, a source of newness, a discovery journey, and a portal to a new reality. This course is for students who want to be disrupted by a new understanding of art and to embrace new cultural realities as they stretch their perceptions, ideas and experiences.

“Art opens a window into a culture’s dreams, drives, and priorities” revealing “aspects of a culture’s soul.” It is frequently ambiguous and asks to be questioned. Individual perceptions and insights are worthy and do not fall into right or wrong categories. Because art is a dynamic and flexible tool to build personal equity, meaning a sense of fairness, students will enlarge their capacity to connect to the world’s diversity through its multiple expressions. The ensuing dialogues will open thought rather than close it down and encourage openness to other ways of seeing the world. Because students will engage in true dialogue with one another and with art that arises from diverse backgrounds and ways of interpreting the world, they will emerge with increased confidence to interpret complex issues and manage diverse relationships.

The course is experiential and hands-on. It requires personal commitment, an open mind and a desire to grow using new, non-traditional and effective ways of connecting art and intercultural dialogue. It does not require prior knowledge of or experience with art. As part of the experiential learning, some of the course activities will take place in museums and art galleries in Philadelphia.

Related Content

Other Courses of Interest

PSYC 3446-001

The Science of Well-Being


  • Martin Seligman


Spring 2024

Tuesdays and Thursdays, 12:00 pm-1:29 pm

The course consists of weekly 90-minute lectures on Positive Psychology: The topics include Well-Being as a Life Goal, Good Character, Learned Helplessness, Optimism, Coaching, Therapy and Prevention, Positive Education, the Positive Corporation, Agency, and Artificial Intelligence. In addition, there will be weekly recitation sessions and exercises for students to measure and to increase their personal well-being.

Class Format: TUESDAYS: 90-minute lectures on Positive Psychology. THURSDAYS: Students meet in small groups (“recitation sessions”) to complete exercises that measure and increase their personal well-being.

Instructors: Martin Seligman, Frank Jackson

Learn More
PSYC 3409-001

Failure to Communicate


  • Carlin Romano


Spring 2024

Mondays, 7:00 pm-9:59 pm

The phrase “failure to communicate” became iconic in American English from the 1967 film “Cool Hand Luke,” in which Paul Newman played a convict who refuses to listen or follow orders. The film raised questions about the multiple ways we understand “failure to communicate” and its consequences. Is it sometimes a decision to resist a presumption, a premise, an interpretation, an argument, a directive from authority? Is it at other times simply a mechanical failure? This course examines “failure to communicate” in multiple cultural areas, among them literature, romance, politics, show business, law, science, war, psychology, philosophy, business, religion, humor and education.

Learn More