Building Intercultural Capacity through World Literature

Lead

Alwyn Spies, Senior Instructor, Languages and World Literatures, Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies (UBC Okanagan)

Collaborators

  • Anderson Araujo, Associate Professor and Acting Head, Languages and World Literatures, Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies (UBC Okanagan)
  • Francisco Peña, Associate Professor, Languages and World Literatures, Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies (UBC Okanagan)
  • Sarah Brears, Clinical Professor, Interim Regional Associate Dean, Southern Medical Program (UBC Okanagan)
  • Francis Langevin, Instructor, Languages and World Literatures, Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies (UBC Okanagan)

Summary

A new World Literature and Intercultural Communication major and minor, to be housed in the Department of Languages and World Literatures, is currently under construction. We are proposing to make a hybrid (blended) online module system to enable the program to utilize existing faculty and structural resources to implement an innovative pedagogical paradigm shift to a plurilingual/pluricultural model. This will, in turn, enable us to build incremental intercultural development opportunities for students through and across the entire program.

The literature courses are purposefully being organized to move from culture-general to culture-specific, following key intercultural research. A majority of 300-level courses will be team-taught by up to 4 instructors with expertise in different geographical areas, languages and/or cultures.

The program will include introductory hybrid language/culture courses in a wide variety of world languages, co-curricular intercultural activities with international students, the sustained inclusion of Indigenous literatures, and the development of a series of dedicated intercultural experiential learning courses — a community service learning course, a work-integrated learning course, and a directed student research course — with ties to international schools so students have the option to get credit for experiential learning projects conducted abroad.

The Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI: a standardized assessment measuring intercultural competence) will be used pre- and post-program, and intercultural exercises and self-reflection work will be built into all literature courses. These ongoing developments will produce a unique, critical, and creative BA program that will measurably develop students’ capacity to communicate across difference, meaningfully address TRC commitments, and represent, support, and integrate increasing numbers of international students.