Understanding World Cultures


Course Description


January 2021


At a time when international travel must be vicarious, this course tours world cultures and provides an intellectual framework for understanding them.  Culture is much more than food, language, and the arts.  It is a distinctive set of thought patters, basic assumptions, and solutions to life’s problems.  Each culture has a logic of its own that explains practices that may seem strange to visitors.  A global perspective also helps us to understand the origins of ethnic and racial conflict in the US and elsewhere.  The course will feature in-depth studies of about a dozen specific countries on six continents, in nearly all of which the instructor has lived and worked.  The course was offered in the Osher program about a decade ago, but the materials have been restructured, expanded, and updated over the last year for the instructor’s courses at CMU.