About this Course
In the course “Understanding Russians: Contexts of Intercultural Communications": we will: 1) Build skills in the analysis of the intercultural communication process using Russian-Western communication as an example. 2) Apply the knowledge of interrelations between different contexts of communication (cultural, institutional, professional, social, interpersonal, etc.) to the cultural history and national psychology of Russians. The purpose of the course is to provide the students with a broad overview of the basic principles governing the past, the present and the future interactions between Russia and the West, with a focus on the culture and national psychology of Russians and Western Europeans. For example, we will look at the cases when basic cultural values of Russians show up through the linguistic choices shaping language production which is consequently misattributed by Western partners. No matter what the language of intercultural communication is – Russian, or English – the meaning of many linguistic expressions may be reconstructed wrongly by the representatives of another culture. Some of the basic questions we will tackle are: • What are the concepts of culture that have the strongest influence on communication? • What are Russian basic cultural values and how they shape modern Russian consciousness? • What are the specific communication patterns of modern Russians, including those of public and electronic discourse? • What is important to know about communication with Russians in organizational contexts? Importantly, this course is NOT just a list of practical instructions of dos and don’ts of dealing with Russians. The course contains a substantial academic component introducing the key notions and concepts of the Theory of Communication, which will be extensively introduced throughout the first few modules of the course. These theoretical grounds will be further on used as a tool for analyzing the intercultural communications with Russians.
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100% online course

Start instantly and learn at your own schedule.
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Approx. 26 hours to complete

Suggested: 8 weeks, 3-4 hours/week
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English

Subtitles: English
Globe

100% online course

Start instantly and learn at your own schedule.
Clock

Approx. 26 hours to complete

Suggested: 8 weeks, 3-4 hours/week
Comment Dots

English

Subtitles: English

Syllabus - What you will learn from this course

1

Section
Clock
26 minutes to complete

Introduction to the Course

Dear Student, welcome to the first module of the course "Understanding Russians: Contexts of Intercultural Communication"! My name is Mira Bergelson and I will teach this class, assisted by Yulia Badryzlova, Tatiana Golubeva and the team of Coursera and HSE technical specialists. Thanks for joining us and for your interest in the Russian communication patterns. ...
Reading
2 videos (Total 6 min), 2 readings
Video2 videos
Meet the Team3m
Reading2 readings
F.A.Q.10m
Grading and Requirements10m
Clock
2 hours to complete

Intercultural Communication as an Academic Discipline

We want this course to be not only a learning experience, but a cultural journey full of discoveries and fun. We will begin by introducing the notion of Intercultural Communication. We will look at ICC as an academic field: have a glimpse of its history, look at its place among other disciplines, discover possible approaches to it, and see why it is important to study the context of cultural events and phenomena. ...
Reading
7 videos (Total 90 min), 4 readings, 1 quiz
Video7 videos
1.2 What is Intercultural Communication?9m
1.3 History of Intercultural Communication: An Overview.17m
1.4 Intercultural Communication in the Context of Other Disciplines.12m
1.5 Different Approaches to Intercultural Communications. Relations Between Culture and Language.12m
1.6 Role of Context. Formats of Intercultural Communication. Definition of Intercultural Communication.17m
1.7 Structure of the Course.7m
Reading4 readings
Weekly Reading10m
Note to Quiz 110m
Links featured in lecture videos10m
Lecture Notes10m
Quiz1 practice exercises
Quiz 118m

2

Section
Clock
4 hours to complete

Culture in Intercultural Communication

This lecture will focus around Culture per se and the language we need to be able to discuss it. The more complex and less formalized is the subject of the discussion, the more crucial are its instruments. We will introduce various dimensions that are applicable to different cultures and will also start to discuss the Russian culture in these terms. Starting this week we will also present short interviews of Prof. Bergelson's with people (non-Russians culturally) who have lived and worked in Russia, and who will serve as experts on various issues and contexts of communication with Russians. As stereotypes are one of the central concepts in the cross-cultural discourse, this week we will see interviews centered on this topic. The experts you will meet -- and not only this week -- are Anna Skaya (CEO VisualDNA Russia), Michael Johnston, (Private Equity Sector Lead Director of Strategy at Deloitte), and Ilya Gnoensky who specializes in crisis management....
Reading
12 videos (Total 151 min), 4 readings, 1 quiz
Video12 videos
2.2. Components and Characteristics of Culture14m
2.3. Culture's Dimensions: Value Orientations13m
2.4. Cultural Orientations Model (COM)11m
2.5 Culture's Consequences14m
2.6. Cultural Knowledge and Stereotypes13m
2.7. Interview: Stereotypes about Russia, Expats' Opinions (A. Skaya and M. Johnston)7m
2.8. Basic Values of Russian Culture17m
2.9. Russian Cultural Dimensions: Environment and Time14m
2.10. Russian Cultural Dimensions: Time and Action12m
2.11. Interview: Expert (I. Gnoensky) on Importance of Intercultural Studies.6m
2.12 Interview: Expert (I. Gnoensky) on goal-setting and responsibility-taking in Russian business culture.8m
Reading4 readings
Weekly Reading10m
Note to Quiz 210m
Links featured in lecture videos10m
Lecture Notes10m
Quiz1 practice exercises
Quiz 242m

3

Section
Clock
4 hours to complete

Theory of Communication

In this week's lectures we will shift our focus, and will be looking at the basics of communication in order to apply them later to the Russian communication style. We hope you will find this information useful for understanding various motives that govern the way people (not only Russians!) interact. Anna Skaya and Michael Johnston will continue to be our experts, and your weekly quiz will await you as well. We wish you a nice learning experience in this section of the course....
Reading
9 videos (Total 130 min), 4 readings, 1 quiz
Video9 videos
3.2. Language as a Means of Communication14m
3.3. Discourse Approach to Communication15m
3.4. Communication as Transaction. Communication Functions15m
3.5. Interview: Experts (M. Johnston, A. Skaya) about Communication and Language Barriers in Business in Russia6m
3.6. More about ommunication: Levels, Models, Pragmatic Competencies19m
3.7. Language Functions16m
3.8. Linguistic Instruments of Human Interaction: The Cooperative Principle15m
3.9. Speech Acts Theory: Cross-cultural Aspects13m
Reading4 readings
Weekly Reading10m
Note to Quiz 310m
References to works quoted in lecture videos10m
Lecture Notes10m
Quiz1 practice exercises
Quiz 340m

4

Section
Clock
6 hours to complete

Culture’s Impact on Communication: Politeness

The lectures you'll see this week will be devoted to the linguocultural aspects of Politeness in Russian communication style and to other dimensions of Russian communication. We will meet an exciting new expert, Jennifer Eremeeva, an American author and blogger based in Moscow. And it's time for the first peer-reviewed assignment, "Critical incident analyzed". It offers you a critical incident of communication with Russian partners, in which you are expected to both simulate your response and give your analysis of what is culturally sensitive in this piece of discourse. ...
Reading
11 videos (Total 144 min), 3 readings, 2 quizzes
Video11 videos
4.2. Face Threatening Acts and Politeness18m
4.3. Power and Distance Cross-culturally13m
4.4. Pragmatic Control Principle7m
4.5. Politeness systems: Where do Russians belong?14m
4.6. Culturally Determined Forms of Communication14m
4.7. Russian Communication Style13m
4.8. Features to Compare12m
4.9. Russian Communication: Expressive Use of Language7m
4.10. Summary of Culture's Influence on Communication14m
4.11. Interview: Expert (I. Gnoensky) Analyzes Peer-Review Assignment18m
Reading3 readings
Weekly Reading10m
Note to Quiz 410m
Lecture Notes10m
Quiz1 practice exercises
Quiz 444m

5

Section
Clock
4 hours to complete

Communication in Organizational Contexts

This week of the course is devoted to Russian communication in organizational contexts. Organizations are crucial: they shape culture and are shaped by culture. You will learn how Russian organizational culture developed throughout Russian history and how it influenced the way today's Russians behave in organizational and buziness environment. Our guests Michael Johnston and Ilya Gnoensky will add to the discussion by sharing their impressions on the Russian corporate culture and management styles. ...
Reading
11 videos (Total 158 min), 5 readings, 1 quiz
Video11 videos
5.2. Organizations as Cultures: Changes in Russian Organizations14m
5.3. Russian Management Culture19m
5.4. Distribution of Power: Hierarchy and Equality in Russian Culture10m
5.5. Interview: Expert (M. Johnston) on Organizational Structure and Organizational Culture in Russia7m
5.6. Collectivism and Individualism in Russian Culture21m
5.7. New Post-Soviet Managerial Culture14m
5.8. Expectation Gaps and 'Double Standards'; Russian Perspective19m
5.9. Comparing and Creating Management Inter-culture in Russia16m
5.10. Russian Corporate Discourse14m
5.11. Interview: Expert (J. Eremeeva) Discusses Newest Russian History, Basic Values7m
Reading5 readings
Weekly Reading10m
Note to Quiz 510m
Links featured in lecture videos10m
References to works quoted in lecture videos10m
Lecture Notes10m
Quiz1 practice exercises
Quiz 534m

6

Section
Clock
4 hours to complete

Social Stratification and Occupational Cultures in Russia

he material covered in the remaining weeks of the class will contain less theory of intercultural communications and more information about contemporary Russia, its ways of life and their historic background. This week we will speak about the social stratification (plus the recent history of the social strata) in Russia, as well as the Russian professional and occupational communication (including the recent changes in it) – both domestically and in the context of international contacts. The lecture will be wrapped up with a case study in which Prof. Bergelson took part some time ago to demonstrate intercultural communications studies at work – in the analysis of an international educational program between a major Russian and a major US university. As in the previous weeks, we will have guest experts to enrich the lecture material with their first-hand experience of living and working in Russia: Margaret Sullivan will describe what it is like to work for an NGO in Russia; Dirk Meissner will speak about teaching students and doing academic work at our home university, the Higher School of Economics. ...
Reading
11 videos (Total 136 min), 4 readings, 1 quiz
Video11 videos
6.2. New Elites and New Issues: from 'Kolkhoznik' to Farmers; Role of NGOs; Russian Regions12m
6.3. Old Russians and 'Old Russians'8m
6.4. Middle Class14m
6.5. Intelligentsia and Intellectuals11m
6.6. Occupational Cultures in New Russia14m
6.7. What Russians Expect from Western Partners Professionally12m
6.8. Typical Situations of Partnerships9m
6.9. Case Study of an International Educational Program20m
6.10. Interview: Expert (M. Sullivan) Speaks about Working at a Russian NGO11m
6.11. Interview: Expert (D. Meissner) about Teaching Russian Students6m
Reading4 readings
Weekly Reading10m
Note to Quiz 610m
Links featured in lecture videos10m
Lecture Notes10m
Quiz1 practice exercises
Quiz 640m

7

Section
Clock
6 hours to complete

Interpersonal Communication

This week we will talk about the specific Russian features of interpersonal communication, communication across genders, and the generational discourse systems.Specifically, we will have a look at such issues as: friendship, dating, role of women; family structure, having and raising children, education, demographic and generational issues, ideological orientations, cross-gender communication, and forms and modes of address across various discourse systems. The Weekly Reading (one of which is optional) will provide further lively examples and evidence about some of these topics.Our guest speakers Anna Skaya and Jennifer Eremeeva will will share their experience of cross-gender communication in Russia. ...
Reading
12 videos (Total 153 min), 3 readings, 2 quizzes
Video12 videos
7.2. Russian Friendship12m
7.3. Dating in Russia13m
7.4. Gender Issues16m
7.5. Family Relations11m
7.6. Family Structure; Raising Children; Role of Education16m
7.7. Family Values, Generational and Family Discourse. Interview: Expert (A. Skaya) about Family Values12m
7.8. How Liberal or Conservative Russia is13m
7.9. Сross-gender Сommunication in Russian Social and Business Environment. Interview: Expert (A. Skaya) talks about Cross-Gender Issues in Business Communication15m
7.10. Interview: Expert (J. Eremeeva) about Russian Cross-gender Communication6m
7.11. Modes of Address across Discourse Systems13m
7.12. Conclusion and Reading6m
Reading3 readings
Weekly Reading10m
Note to Quiz 710m
Lecture Notes10m
Quiz1 practice exercises
Quiz 740m

8

Section
Clock
3 hours to complete

Culture as a Narrative

Sad to say, this is the last week of lectures in our course. And in this last week we present not factual data or charts or tables, but rather a narrative -- this time a narrative of Russian history in broad impressionistic strokes. We do believe in narratives: they are never complete, but they provide attitudes. And culture – more than anything else – is a narrative.This time we will look at narratives as a source of knowledge about a culture, and, specifically, at such cultural narratives as: national Russian holidays, the key events of Russian history, personal stories of Russians in the 20th century, and Russian jokes and humor. Two video interviews with Jennifer Eremeeva will be dealing with some of these topics....
Reading
11 videos (Total 138 min), 3 readings, 1 quiz
Video11 videos
8.2. Competencies Needed to Tell and Understand a Good Story8m
8.3. Stories of Russian Culture as Seen through National Holidays15m
8.4. Ten centuries of Russian History in a Nutshell14m
8.5. Cultural Narratives of the First Half of the 20th Century10m
8.6. Cultural Narratives of the Second Half of the 20th Century12m
8.7. What Russian Cultural Stories are Based upon14m
8.8. Personal stories as Cultural Narratives17m
8.9. Interview: Expert (J. Eremeeva) Discusses Comeback of Traditional Values in Russia9m
8.10. Russian Jokes as a Way to Wrap up the Course's Narrative16m
8.11. Interview: Expert (J. Eremeeva) Talks about Russian Humour4m
Reading3 readings
Weekly Reading10m
Note to Quiz 810m
Lecture Notes10m
Quiz1 practice exercises
Quiz 824m
4.4
Briefcase

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got a tangible career benefit from this course

Top Reviews

By SSJul 26th 2017

This is a fantastic course. I really appreciate everyone who has created this course. This is a very intriguing course.\n\nI am still taking it, but I'm leaving a review now so I don't forget later.

By TJJul 7th 2017

An excellent course! Subject matter was interesting and well-presented!

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About National Research University Higher School of Economics

National Research University - Higher School of Economics (HSE) is one of the top research universities in Russia. Established in 1992 to promote new research and teaching in economics and related disciplines, it now offers programs at all levels of university education across an extraordinary range of fields of study including business, sociology, cultural studies, philosophy, political science, international relations, law, Asian studies, media and communications, IT, mathematics, engineering, and more. Learn more on www.hse.ru...

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