Intercultural Rhetoric-Department of English - Carnegie Mellon University

Concentration in Intercultural Rhetoric

A Question Worth Asking

How well do people communicate across the lines that divide nations and societies? What happens at and across the borders of racial, ethnic, class, cultural, and linguistic difference, or at the tacit borders of disciplinary and discourse communities? How do our literate practices, social purposes, and cultural patterns shape interpretation and action?

In an increasingly multicultural society and an increasingly globalized world, no understanding of communication or rhetoric is adequate without an enhanced awareness of its necessary embeddedness in interactions across all kinds of boundaries. How do people communicate across the lines that divide nations and societies? What happens at and across the border of racial, ethnic, class, cultural, and linguistic difference, or at the tacit borders of disciplinary and discourse communities? How do our literate practices, social purposes, and cultural patterns shape interpretation and action?

A Goal for Inquiry

The goal of studying intercultural rhetoric at CMU is not only to understand difference, but to let you conduct serious inquiry into the rhetorical practices that can cross borders and lead to a more equitable discourse of intercultural collaboration within education and society.

The program is meant to enable students to acquire a theory-informed understanding of the intercultural dimension of contemporary communication, gaining basic expertise for interpreting, conceptualizing and handling communicative and rhetorical interactions among different groups, fields or formations, and laying a solid foundation either for further graduate work in rhetoric, composition, cultural studies, communication studies, or for a professional career involving international communication, education, or business.

How Do I Participate in the Intercultural Rhetoric Concentration? 

  1. By taking at least three of your courses within the Intercultural Rhetoric list of offerings and focusing those course projects on an issue in intercultural interpretation or communication
  2. By participating in the discussions of an Intercultural Rhetoric Inquiry group of students and faculty within the Rhetoric and the Literary and Cultural Studies programs
  3. By submitting a final Individual Inquiry statement together with your three focused papers at the end of the program. This statement should integrate your learning and chart the path you took within the concentration and be a useful part of your professional portfolio.

What Courses Will Let Me Pursue My Inquiry in Intercultural Rhetoric?

The courses offered here (a selection of which is available every year) allow you to chart an inquiry in the context of rhetorical and culture theory, writing and teaching, and real world social action.

Core Courses

  • Discourse Analysis
  • History of Rhetoric
  • The History, Theory, and Practice of Writing Instruction
  • Process of Reading & Writing

Other Rhetoric Courses

  • Argument
  • Literacy: Educational Theory and Community Practice
  • Comparative Rhetoric
  • Rhetoric of Science
  • Sociolinguistics
  • Rhetoric of Public Policy

Courses in English, Modern Languages and History

  • Cultural Studies
  • Early Modern Nationhood
  • Interdisciplinary Cultural Analysis
  • Issues and Trends in Second Language Acquisition and Teaching
  • Social and Cognitive Aspects of Bilingualism
  • Special Topics in American Literature and Culture
  • Theoretical Approaches to Culture, Society and History

Other Courses That May Be Relevant

  • African American Studies
  • African American Women
  • American Dream
  • Educational Policy: Historical Perspectives
  • Ethnicity in Modern America
  • Gender Roles and Social Change
  • Intro to Anthropology and History