Helsinki Summer School

Program Description


Helsinki Summer School

PLEASE NOTE! This course was held in 2015, new courses will be arranged in 2017

Target students

This course is suitable for Bachelor’s and Master’s level students interested in interculturality. Suitable academic backgounds include anthropology, social sciences, social psychology, psychology, postcolonial studies, linguistics, area and cultural studies and communication.


What is meant by Intercultural Communication? What are the contexts in which Intercultural Communication typically occurs and what are its distinguishing features? Which factors contribute to success or failure in Intercultural Communication? Taking questions such as these as points of departure, the course addresses its themes from a sociolinguistic perspective. These themes are linked by the key concepts of ‘language’, ‘society’ and ‘difference’ which are central in considering matters of misunderstanding vs success in intercultural communication.

The course will focus on Intercultural Communication theories and models, and will also examine multilingualism by giving examples from different geographical areas. The participants will analyse multilingualism, bilingualism and the media by using critical discourse analysis.

Learning objectives

•To become familiar with Intercultural Communication as a field of study

•To gain insights into the link between intercultural communication and multilingualism

•To gain insights into various features of language which aid or obstruct intercultural communication

•To better understand the sociolinguistics aspects of intercultural communication

•To better understand the role of language in communicating across social barriers of class, ethnic group, gender, nationality, etc.

Course format and teaching methods

The course starts with introductory lectures on how different themes and disciplinary perspectives come together in Intercultural Communication. The course material incorporates findings of foundational and recent academic research in the field. Before the start of the course, selected readings will be made available to students electronically. Working in groups, students will investigate concrete examples of intercultural communication and use critical discourse analysis as a method. Students will report their findings in formal presentations to be discussed by fellow students and assessed by the course teacher.


Professor Christine Anthonissen, Stellenbosch University, South Africa

Anthonissen received her PhD at the University of Vienna in 2001, working on Critical Discourse Analysis as a Critical Theory that developed during the 1970s. She specifically considered how such theory could be used in analysing media discourses produced under constraints of strict state censorship. Her current research focuses on Discourse Studies, Critical Discourse Analysis and social aspects of Bilingualism and Multilingualism. This work topicalises discourses of coming to terms with a traumatic past, including discourses produced during the hearings of the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and language discordant discourses between health workers and patients in HIV/AIDS clinics. She has undertaken an interdisciplinary project that investigates characteristics of language shift from Afrikaans to English in a number of Western Cape communities, tracing the nature of the language choices made in personal and private contexts and in various public domains. She is one of the editors of Stellenbosch Papers in Linguistics (SPIL and SPIL PLUS), and a member of the editorial board of the Journal of Language and Politics; and Multilingual Margins.

The course coordinator is Saara Rautanen-Uunila. Please direct any questions concerning the content of this course to her at saara.rautanen-uunila(at)

Means and criteria of assessment

Active participation in lectures, assignments and group work presentations.

This school offers programs in:
  • English

Last updated June 30, 2016
Duration & Price
This course is Campus based
Start Date
Start date
Aug. 2017
17 days
Full time
Start date Aug. 2017
Finland Helsinki
Application deadline Request Info
End date Aug. 18, 2017
Duration 17 days
Price Request Info