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This truly global multicultural reader features almost 60 contemporary selections by internationally acclaimed authors from 22 countries. These compelling readings explore cultural differences in relation to race, class, gender, and nationality, challenging readers to compare their experiences with those of others in radically different cultural circumstances. Introduces readers to the culture and people of other countries through the eyes of someone from that culture. Family life, adolescent relationships, gender roles, work and the environment, race and class conflicts, social and political issues, "the other," and customs, rituals, and values - from the perspectives of authors from 22 countries. General interest in global issues / other cultures.
Table of Contents
Critical Reading for Ideas and Organization
Finding a Thesis
Responding to What You Read
Marking as You Read
Distinguishing between Fact and Opinion
A Sample Essay for Student Annotation: Edward T. Hall, "Hidden Culture"
Keeping a Reading Journal
Writing Your Essay
A Final Word
1 The Family in Different Cultures
Gayle Pemberton, "Antidisestablishmentarianism"
In her irreverent autobiographical account, the African-American author tells how her savvy maternal grandmother taught her to think for herself.
Amy Tan, "The Language of Discretion"
The different habits of thought and speech between Chinese and Americans is the subject of this perceptive essay on cross-cultural misunderstandings.
John Cheever, "Reunion" [Short Story]
"The last time I saw my father was in Grand Central Station." A father's boorish behavior ruins a much anticipated get-together.
Fritz Peters, "Boyhood with Gurdjieff"
A young boy learns the value of compassion in a most unexpected way from his eccentric mentor.
Steve Sailer, "The Cousin Marriage Conundrum"
Those who harbor the belief that the Middle East can be reshaped to accept democracy might wish to consider the author's analysis.
Gayatri Devi, "A Princess Remembers"
The Maharani of Jaipur presents an intimate look at her extraordinary childhood when she lived in a palace.
Daniela Deane, "The Little Emperors"
A generation of overfed spoiled boys who will be unable to find wives is one of the unanticipated results of China's mandatory one-child policy.
2 Turning Points
Sucheng Chan, "You're Short, Besides!"
The Chinese-American author's humor and courage in confronting and overcoming personal infirmities emerge from this account.
Christy Brown, "The Letter 'A'"
The Dublin-born author recaptures the moment when he first communicated signs of intelligence, despite having been diagnosed as mentally defective as the result of cerebral palsy.
Hanan al-Shaykh, "The Persian Carpet" [Short Story]
"In confusion I looked at the Persian carpet spread on the floor, then gave my mother a long look." This story tells how the reappearance of a carpet thought to have been stolen permanently alters a young girl's relationship with her mother.
Sabine Reichel, "Learning What Was Never Taught"
A German student discusses the obstacles she had to overcome in obtaining forthright accounts of the Holocaust from her teachers.
Douchan Gersi, "Initiated into an Iban Tribe of Headhunters"
A producer of the National Geographic television series Discovery strips away any romanticized notions about being initiated into a tribe of headhunters in Borneo.
Guanlong Cao, "Chopsticks"
Handmade chopsticks acquire symbolic importance among students in Shanghai.
Germaine Greer, "One Man's Mutilation Is Another Man's Beautification"
The author examines the significance of body piercing, tatooing, and scarification in cultures throughout the world.
3 How Culture Shapes Gender Roles
Susan Bordo, "Never Just Pictures"
The writer indicts the cultural pressures that tyrannize women into starving to be thin.
Barbara Kantrowitz, "The New Face of Marriage"
The flurry of debate over legalizing same-sex marriage in the United States contrasts with its acceptance overseas.
Judith Ortiz Cofer, "The Myth of the Latin Woman"
The author explores the cross-cultural misunderstandings that result in the Latina stereotype.
Nawal El Saadawi, "Circumcision of Girls"
An Egyptian physician speaks out against the continuing practice of female circumcision in the Sudan, Yemen, Somalia, Ethiopia, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt.
Shirley Saad, "Amina" [Short Story]
"You are still young, Amina. God has given you four daughters, maybe the next four will be boys." A Lebanese woman who has given birth only to girls is apprehensive that her husband will take another wife in order to have a son.
Elizabeth W. Fernea and Robert A. Fernea, "A Look Behind the Veil"
The veil and purdah, or seclusion, play an important—and complex—role in Middle Eastern societies.
Serena Nanda, "Arranging a Marriage in India"
An anthropologist discusses the negotiations, and expectations, that govern arranged marriages in India.
Nicholas Bornoff, "The Marriage Go-Round"
Courtship and marriage in modern-day Japan are still conducted according to age-old rituals.
4 Work and the Environment
Deborah Tannen, "Ritual Fighting"
The author analyzes the profound differences in styles of communication between men and women in the workplace.
Barbara Ehrenreich, "Nickel-and-Dimed"
A journalist enters the world of the unskilled worker and learns firsthand of the indignities and privations experienced by those who keep society functioning.
Gerald W. Haslam, "The Water Game"
Haslam reveals how the politics of water and runaway growth in California's heartland has implications for the global environment.
Victor Villaseñor, "Rain of Gold"
The author recounts his father's experience as a rock blaster in the gritty scramble to earn a day's wage.
Helena Norberg-Hodge, "Learning from Ladakh"
A thousand-year-old flourishing culture in the Western Himalayas is under threat from the pressures of consumerism.
Tomoyuki Iwashita, "Why I Quit the Company"
The author explains why he gave up his prestigious job with a Japanese corporation.
Catherine Lim, "Paper" [Short Story]
"Once the notion of a big beautiful house had lodged itself in his imagination, Tay Soon nurtured it until it became the consuming passion of his life." The lure of easy money draws a middle-class couple into the frenzy of the Singapore stock exchange.
5 Race, Class, and Caste
Martin Luther King Jr., "I Have a Dream"
A leader of the civil rights movement uses a variety of rhetorical strategies to argue for the acceptance of his dream of freedom and equality for all Americans.
Itabari Njeri, "What's in a Name?"
The decision to renounce her given name and to adopt one of African origin has humorous results.
Mary Crow Dog and Richard Erdoes, "Civilize Them with a Stick"
An outspoken advocate for Native-American rights graphically depicts the racism she experienced as a young student at a government-run boarding school.
Kate Chopin, "Desirée's Baby" [Short Story]
"When the baby was about three months old, Desiree awoke one day to the conviction that there was something in the air menacing her peace." This classic story explores the tragic consequences of racism in turn-of-the-century Louisiana.
Richard Rodriguez, "On Becoming a Chicano"
The writer describes his need to rediscover the Mexican identity he lost when he moved into the mainstream of academic life in American culture.
Raymonde Carroll, "Sex, Money, and Success"
An anthropologist discovers that bragging about sexual conquests plays the same role in French society that proclaiming one's business success does in America.
Mandokht Kashkuli, "The Button" [Short Story]
"I had cocked my ears to hear who that 'one less mouth to feed' was." This poignant story describes the circumstances of a family in Iran who must place one of their children in an orphanage.
Viramma, "A Pariah's Life"
An "untouchable" in southeast India describes her experiences as a midwife.
6 Social and Political Issues
Philip Slater, "Want-Creation Fuels Americans' Addictiveness"
The author presents an argument as to why addictions of various kinds dominate American culture.
Jeremy Rifkin, "Big, Bad Beef"
Rifkin alerts us to the environmental havoc produced by the large-scale consumption of beef.
Eric Schlosser, "Kid Kustomers"
Advertisers have become quite skillful in turning children into a surrogate sales force for their wares.
Luis Sepulveda, "Daisy"
The literary aspirations of his jailor, in a prison in Chile, puts the author into a no-win situation.
Stephen Chapman, "The Prisoner's Dilemma"
The author challenges the assumption that Western methods of punishment are less barbaric than those practiced in Middle Eastern cultures.
Panos Ioannides, "Gregory" [Short Story]
"'How the devil could you kill such a friend?"' A soldier faces the moral dilemma of whether to follow orders and shoot a prisoner who has become his friend.
Rae Yang, "At the Center of the Storm"
Given power as Red Guards during the Cultural Revolution, the author and her fellow students turn the tables on their teachers.
7 The Other
Temple Grandin, "Thinking in Pictures"
The author's lifelong struggle with autism offers unique insight into the way children rely on concrete images to communicate abstract ideas.
Gloria Anzaldúa, "Cervicide" [Short Story]
"In the shed behind the corral, where they'd hidden the fawn, Prieta found the hammer." A Chicana poet tells the poignant story of a Mexican-American family on the Texas border who are forced to kill their pet deer.
Poranee Natadecha-Sponsel, "Individualism as an American Cultural Value"
A scholar raised in Thailand takes a critical look at the differences between Thai and American cultural values.
Gino del Guercio, "The Secrets of Haiti's Living Dead"
Wade Davis, a Harvard botanist, investigates how the creation of zombies by voodoo secret societies acts as a form of social control.
Ngugi wa Thiong'o, "Decolonising the Mind"
The author discusses the damaging psychological and cultural effects of being forbidden to speak or write one's native language under British colonial domination of Kenya.
Kyoko Mori, "Polite Lies"
The elaborate rules involved in everyday communication in Japan drive this Japanese emigré to distraction.
David R. Counts, "Too Many Bananas"
An anthropologist doing fieldwork in New Guinea has to rethink many of his cultural assumptions regarding reciprocal exchanges of food and goods.
8 Customs, Rituals, and Values
Harold Miner, "Body Ritual Among the Nacirema"
The daily cleansing rituals and taboos of this tribe reveal its cultural values.
Mary Brave Bird, "Granddaddy of Them All"
A member of the Lakota tribe provides an unusual behind-the-scenes account of the preparations for the sun dance, the most sacred ceremony of Native Americans.
Jennifer Fisher, "Nutcracker Nation"
This Tchaikovsky ballet has come a long way from its classic Russian origins to become the quintessential event at Christmas.
Octavio Paz, "Fiesta"
How Mexican fiestas introduce the sense of the extraordinary in everyday life is described with stylistic flare by the Nobel Prize–winning author.
Richard Keller Simon, "The Shopping Mall and the Formal Garden"
Although similar in design to gardens of the past, the contemporary shopping mall celebrates the pleasures of consumptions rather than the contemplation of nature.
Nabil Gorgy, "Cairo Is a Small City" [Short Story]
"So it was that the Engineer Adil Salim fell in love with the beautiful Bedouin girl Salma." This story relates how a successful engineer who prides himself on his shrewdness is manipulated through his desire for a Bedouin girl into paying an "eye for an eye."
Liza Dalby, "Kimono"
The first non-Japanese woman to become a geisha explains the significance of kimono in Japanese culture.
Valerie Steele and John S. Major, "China Chic: East Meets West"
The authors explore foot binding, a practice that lasted for a thousand years in China.