Higher Education

Distant Mirrors: America as a Foreign Culture, 3rd Edition

  • Philip R. DeVita State University of New York, Plattsburgh
  • James D. Armstrong State University of New York, Plattsburgh
  • ISBN-10: 0534556485  |  ISBN-13: 9780534556488
  • 216 Pages
  • Previous Editions: 1998, 1993
  • © 2002 | Published
  • College Bookstore Wholesale Price = $78.75



Anthropology has a long history of the "other," yet we can look right here at home for the strangeness we seek. We often neglect to ask the questions that reveal our own culture's underlying value and beliefs. In this volume, we bring the American culture into focus. For students to understand the full impact of ethnography, to experience cultural relativity and to gain a foundation to build informed comparisons, students need a firm grasp of their own culture--and need to use this volume. The Third Edition consists of 19 essays written by anthropologists and other scholars using an ethnographic perspective. The essays enable students to understand themselves better by focusing on their own culture and seeing it from a new perspective. This collection gives anthropology a comparative perspective that provides a reflective lens, a mirror, for understanding ourselves and the world in which we live.

Table of Contents

1. One Hundred Percent American, by Ralph Linton.
2. The American Cultural Configuration, by Lowell D. Holmes and Ellen Rhoads Holmes.
3. Body Ritual Among the Nacirema, by Horace Miner.
4. Professor Widjojo Goes to a Koktel Parti, by Weston LaBarre.
5. An Outsider's View of American Culture, by Janusz L. Mucha.
6. Growing Up American: Doing the Right Thing, by Amparo Ojeda.
7. My American Glasses, by Francisco Martins Ramos.
8. American Graffiti: Curious Derivatives of Individualism, by Jin Kim.
9. The Young, the Rich, and the Famous: Individualism as an American Cultural Value, by Poranee Natadecha-Sponsel.
10. America and I, by Herve Varenne.
11. Encounters with the Elderly in America, by Yohko Tsuji.
12. Neighborly Strangers, by Honggang Yang.
13. Pais de Mis Suenos: Reflections on Ethnic Labels, Dichotomies, and Ritual Interaction, by Gisela Ernst.
14. Giving, Withholding, and Meeting Midway: A Poet's Ethnography, by Saleem Peerandina.
15. A Russian Teacher in America, by Andre Toom.
16. First Impressions: Diary of a French Anthropologist in New York City, by Francoise Dussart.
17. Life and Cultures: The Test of Real Participant Observation, by E. L. Cerroni-Long.
18. Learning to Hug: An English Anthropologist's Experiences in North America, by Geoffrey Hunt.
19. A European Anthropologist's Personal and Ethnographic Impressions of the United States, by Emanuel J. Drechsel.

Meet the Author

Author Bio

Philip R. DeVita

Philip R. DeVita received his Ph.D. from the University of California, Davis, and is Professor of Anthropology at the State University of New York, Plattsburgh. Professor DeVita's teaching and research interests include cultural, economic, linguistic, and psychological anthropology, as well as peoples of the Pacific and cultures of the Canadian Maritimes. Professor DeVita has edited numerous books and anthologies, including THE NAKED ANTHROPOLOGIST: TALES FROM AROUND THE WORLD, AND THE HUMBLED ANTHROPOLOGIST: TALES FROM THEPACIFIC, both published by Wadsworth.

James D. Armstrong

James D. Armstrong is Professor of Anthropology at the State University of New York, Plattsburgh, where he teaches courses on Israeli culture, sexuality, methods, and global problems. He has done extensive fieldwork on identity and social organization in modern-day Israel, and published articles on mainstream Israeli culture, extensionist semantics, and engaged pedagogy.