By Dr. Stephen Schwalbe
Program Director, Political Science at American Public University
Why do people of different regions do things differently than we do? This question is often asked when a person might come into contact with traditions and cultures that differ from their own, or the practice of something is not widely shared or understood. If you are intending to travel to a different region of America or to a location overseas, then understanding the cultures around you will make a world of difference.
American Public University is unveiling a new course this fall to explore and explain the different cultures observed throughout the U.S. and the world. This course will teach the inner workings of culture at the personal level, then to the national and regional level. As such, if you are going to be living overseas on deployment or even just traveling around the world for a while on vacation, this course will be extremely useful for your understanding of what is going on around you.
The course is Political Science 212 (POLS212) entitled “Political Analysis: Cultural Perspectives.” This undergraduate course is oriented around two cultural tool kits to use when conducting an analysis of either people or a country.
The micro-cultural tool kit is oriented around Dr. Brooks Peterson’s five cultural scales, measuring individual interactions between people of different cultures. However, the course also includes many more individual cultural domains, such as body language, facial expressions, tone of voice, and personal space.
The macro-cultural tool kit focuses on five domains of culture at the societal level: development, religion, geography, ethnicity, and nationalism (DR GEN). With these five domains, the student will be able to analyze the cultural differences between nations or between regions of the planet. The case study for this course is the Middle East.
Armed with these two cultural tool kits, you will appreciate different cultures and enjoy experiencing them much more. When learning about events in foreign countries, you can begin to appreciate the underlying cultural differences that may cause foreigners to behave the way they do.
POLS212 is being offered for the first time in October 2014! Be one of the first to experience this one-of-a-kind course in the country.
About the Author
Dr. Schwalbe, Program Director of Political Science at American Public University, retired from the Air Force in 2007 as a colonel after 30 years of active duty service. He has a Bachelor of Science degree from the Air Force Academy; a Master’s degree in Public Administration from Golden Gate University; a Master’s degree from the Naval Postgraduate School; a Master’s degree from the Naval War College; and, a PhD from Auburn University in Public Policy.