Higher Education

Perspectives on Contemporary Issues, 6th Edition

  • Katherine Anne Ackley Emerita, University of Wisconsin at Stevens Point
  • ISBN-10: 0495912921  |  ISBN-13: 9780495912927
  • 592 Pages
  • © 2012 | Published
  • College Bookstore Wholesale Price = $106.25
  *Why an online review copy?
  • It's the greener, leaner way to review! An online copy cuts down on paper and on time. Reduce the wait (and the weight) of printed texts. Your online copy arrives instantly, and you can review it anytime from your computer or favorite mobile device.

If you prefer a print copy to review, please contact your representative.



PERSPECTIVES on CONTEMPORARY ISSUES, 6th Edition, approaches learning as the interconnectedness of ideas and disciplinary perspectives. This cross-disciplinary reader encourages critical thinking and academic writing by presenting students with a variety of perspectives on current issues across the curriculum. Contemporary issues engage students, while the thematically grouped readings provide thought-provoking material for in-class discussion and writing topics.

Features and Benefits

  • With its extensive coverage of reading and writing critically and detailed guidelines for writing summary, critique, argument, synthesis, and research papers, this book gives students clear guidelines for enhancing reading and writing skills that they can transfer to all college courses.
  • The sixth edition presents timely readings on contemporary, often controversial, topics of interest to students. They will be intrigued by subjects relevant to their own lives and are likely to more readily participate in class discussion.
  • Reader-response questions and questions for discussion follow each selection, with writing topics provided at the ends of chapters. Reader-response questions prompt students to react on a personal level before analyzing critically, and thus engage them on that level. Discussion questions ask for both recall and analysis, to promote close reading and critical thinking, and suggested topics provide direction for student papers.
  • Each chapter in Parts Two through Five concludes with Responding to Visuals, a section which features two photographs or other visual images. These images relate to the thematic focus of the chapter and are accompanied by questions on rhetorical strategies and other relevant matters.

Table of Contents

1. Reading Critically.
Reading Critically in Preparation for Writing Critically. Illustration: Reading Critically. What’s in a Name? More than You Think, Joe Saltzman. Discussion of “What’s in a Name? More than You Think” Rhetorical Analysis of Visuals. Rhetorical Analysis of Websites.
2. The Writing Process.
Prewriting. Writing the First Draft. Revising and Editing Your Paper. Proofreading. Student Essay.
3. Writing a Summary.
Writing a Summary. Illustration: Making Marginal Notes and Summarizing. “The Moon We Left Behind,” Charles Krauthammer (new selection).
4. Writing a Critique.
The Connection between Reading Critically and Writing a Critique. Writing a Critique. The Hollow Curriculum, Robert N. Sollod. Student Essay
5. Writing an Arguement.
Narrowing Your Focus and Discovering Your Position. Structuring an Argument. Strategies for Arguing Effectively. Student Essay.
6. Synthesizing Material and Documenting Sources.
Using MLA Style Writing a Synthesis. In-text Citations Using MLA Style. Paraphrasing. Quoting. Integrating Source Material into Your Paper. Using Ellipsis Points, Brackets, Single Quotation Marks and “Qtd. in.” Documenting Sources in a Collection of Essays.
7. Writing a Research Paper.
Defining Your Purpose. Discovering a Topic. Forming a Preliminary Thesis and a Working Bibliography. Using the Library. Using Electronic Sources. Using Other Sources. Creating a Preliminary Bibliography. Evaluating Print Sources. Evaluating Internet Sources. Illustration: Seeking Promising Websites Taking Notes. Avoiding Plagiarism. Illustration: Plagiarism, Inaccurate Documentation, and Correct Handling of Source Material. Documenting Sources. Parenthetical Documentation: Citing Sources in the Text. Creating a Works Cited Page Using MLA Style. Assembling the Parts of a Research Paper. Student Research Paper Using MLA Style. Writing a Research Paper Using APA Style. Parenthetical Citations Using APA Style. APA Style References List Sample Pages from Student Research Paper Using APA Style. A Student Paper Using PA Style.
8. Music and Video Games.
Art Form for the Digital Age, Henry Jenkins. Do Video Games Kill?, Karen Sternheimer. In Defense of Hip-Hop, Cathleen Rountree. Hip-Hop’s Betrayal of Black Women, Jennifer McClure.
9. Media Studies.
Aggression: The Impact of Media Violence, Sissela Bok. Violent Media is Good for Kids, Gerard Jones (new selection). The End of Admiration: The Media and the Loss of Heroes, Peter H. Gibbon. The Wrong Lesson: Teaching College Reporters to be Meek, David Wallis.
10. Film and Television.
Stop Blaming Kids and TV, Mike Males. Getting Real with Reality TV, Cynthia M. Frisby. Creating Reel Change, Donovan Jacobs. Girls Just Wanna Have Fangs, Sady Doyle (new selection).
11. The Arts.
Solitude and the Fortresses of Youth, Michael Chabon. Comix Poetics, Andrew D. Arnold. Dance, Dance Revolution, Barbara Ehrenreich. How Song, Dance and Movies Bailed Us Out of the Depression, Morris Dickstein (new selection).
12. Education.
Censorship: A Personal View, Judy Blume. Critical Thinking? You Need Knowledge, Diane Ravitch (new selection). Except from “Why School?: A Student in a Community College Basic Skills Program,” Mike Rose (new selection). No Time to Read? David McCullough.
13. Poverty and Homelessness.
Our Tired, Our Poor, Our Kids, Anna Quindlen. Homeless, Mike Dick was 51, Looked 66, Kevin Fagan (new selection). Too Poor to Make the News, Barbara Ehrenreich (new selection). The Singer Solution to World Poverty, Peter Singer.
14. Gender and Sex Roles.
The Puzzle of Boys, Thomas Bartlett (new selection). Who Does the Talking Here? Deborah Tannen (new selection). A Sporting Chance: Title IX and the Seismic Shift in Women’s Sports, Elinor Nauen (new selection). Sacred Rite or Civil Right? Howard Moody.
15. Race and Ethnicity in America.
One Nation, Indivisible: Is It History? William Booth. Imagining the Immigrant: Why Legality Must Give Way to Humanity, John J. Savant (new selection). Play the Race Card, Raina Kelley (new selection). Race in America: We Would Like to Believe We Are Over the Problem, Maryann Cusimano Love.
16. American Foreign Policy.
American Idealism and Realpolitik, Paul Johnson. Still Not Tired, Thomas L. Friedman (new selection). Lessons from World War II, Cathy Young. Now Showing: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly Americans, Martha Boyles.
17. Digital Technology and the Internet.
I Need My Space!, Cindy Long. The Most Important Moment of All Time? Grant Calder (new selection). Social Connection, Steven Johnson (new selection). Chips: High Tech Aids or Tracking Tools? Todd Lewan.
18. Bioethics.
About That New Jersey Organ Scandal, Sully Satel (new selection). Women Sell Their Eggs, So Why Not a Kidney? Deborah Kotz (new selection). Patenting Life, Michael Crichton. Bioethics and Stem Cell Research Debate, Robyn S. Shapiro.
19. Public Health.
HPV Vaccine Texas Tyranny, Mike Adams (new selection). The HPV Debate Needs an Injection of Reality, Arthur Allen (new selection). Global Public Goods and Health, Richard D. Smith. What the Rest of Africa Could Learn about AIDS, Jessica Reaves. 20. Environmental Studies.
Humboldt’s Legacy and the Restoration of Science, Aaron Sachs. Get Up! Stand Up!, Bill McKibben. The Sixth Extinction, Jeff Corwin (new selection). Accounting 101 for the 21st Century: A Liberal Arts Education in Carbon, John Petersen (new selection).
21. Marketing and the American Consumer.
Every Nook and Cranny: The Dangerous Spread of Commercialized Culture Gary Ruskin and Juliet Schor. Marketing in the Millennials, Suzy Menkes (new selection). Stuff is Not Salvation, Anna Quindlen (new selection). Shopping and Other Spiritual Adventures in Americdan Today, Phyllis Rose.
22. The Workplace.
You’ve Been Mommified, Ellen Goodman. The Full-Time Blues, Judith Warner. Temporary Workers and the 21st Century Economy, Jody Greenstone Miller (new selection). Oh, Brother, Jeff Jacoby (new selection).
23. American Business in the Global Marketplace.
In Defense of Sweatshops, Benjamin Powell (new selection). The Wal-Mart You Don’t Know, Charles Fishman. 30 Little Turtles, Thomas L. Friedman. Dominant Elsewhere, Google Struggles in China, John Boudreau (new selection).
Appendix 1: Glossary of Terms. Appendix 2: Formatting Guidelines for Course Papers.
Credits. Index.

What's New

  • Two new chapter titles reflect the merging of several chapters that were in the 5th edition. Chapter 16, “American Foreign Policy,” incorporates both the subject of America’s fight against terrorism and America’s image abroad, while chapter 23, “American Business in the Global Marketplace,” includes readings on outsourcing and America’s position in the very competitive global marketplace.
  • New Readings: There are 26 new readings in this edition, almost all of them published in the last couple of years. These new readings cover topics of contemporary interest whose writers take sometimes controversial positions on the issues under discussion. New selections include Sady Doyle’s Girls Just Wanna Have Fangs, Barbara Ehrenreich’s Too Poor to Make the News, and John J. Savant’s Imagining the Immigrant: Why Legality Must Give Way to Humanity.
  • Updated MLA Guidelines: All discussions of MLA style in Part I, particularly chapters 6 and 7, reflect revised style recommendations of the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, 7th Edition, published in March 2009.
  • Fewer Readings : In response to the recommendation of reviewers and users of the 5th Edition, the total number of readings has been reduced from 85 to 70 in the 6th Edition. This reduction makes it easier to cover the readings in one semester and, at the same time, maintains the text’s hallmark breadth of coverage in the disciplines.

Learning Resource Bundles

Choose the textbook packaged with the resources that best meet your course and student needs. Contact your Learning Consultant for more information.

Bundle: Perspectives on Contemporary Issues, 6th + The Concise Wadsworth Handbook, Untabbed Version, 3rd

ISBN-10: 1133221866  | ISBN-13: 9781133221869

List Price = $148.95  | College Bookstore Wholesale Price = $110.50

This Bundle Includes:

  • Perspectives on Contemporary Issues
    List Price = $140.95  | CengageBrain Price = $140.95  | College Bookstore Wholesale Price = $106.25
  • The Concise Wadsworth Handbook, Untabbed Version
    List Price = $56.95  | College Bookstore Wholesale Price = $42.75

Bundle: Perspectives on Contemporary Issues, 6th + The Brief Wadsworth Handbook, 7th + Merriam-Webster Dictionary, Paperbound

ISBN-10:  1285250958  | ISBN-13:  9781285250953

List Price = $279.95  | College Bookstore Wholesale Price = $210.25

This Bundle Includes:

  • Perspectives on Contemporary Issues
    List Price = $140.95  | CengageBrain Price = $140.95  | College Bookstore Wholesale Price = $106.25
  • The Brief Wadsworth Handbook
    List Price = $133.95  | College Bookstore Wholesale Price = $100.50
  • Merriam-Webster Dictionary, Paperbound, 2nd
    List Price = $13.95  | College Bookstore Wholesale Price = $10.75

Bundle: Perspectives on Contemporary Issues, 6th + Keys for Writers, 7th

ISBN-10:  1285583000 | ISBN-13:  9781285583006

List Price = $232.95  | College Bookstore Wholesale Price = $175.00

This Bundle Includes:

  • Perspectives on Contemporary Issues
    List Price = $140.95  | CengageBrain Price = $140.95  | College Bookstore Wholesale Price = $106.25
  • Keys for Writers
    List Price = $90.95  | College Bookstore Wholesale Price = $68.75


All supplements have been updated in coordination with the main title. Select the main title's "About" tab, then select "What's New" for updates specific to title's edition.

For more information about these supplements, or to obtain them, contact your Learning Consultant.

Instructor Supplements

Online Instructor's Manual  (ISBN-10: 049591164X | ISBN-13: 9780495911647)

Available for easy download at the Companion Website, the password-protected Online Instructor’s Manual includes an introductory section on writing; classroom exercises to promote good discussion; exercises related to teaching researched writing; additional reading questions for discussion, along with background information on names or events within the readings; and articles on writing critically and conducting small group discussions.

InfoTrac® College Edition Printed Access Card  (ISBN-10: 0534558534 | ISBN-13: 9780534558536)

This online research and learning center offers over 20 million full-text articles from nearly 6,000 scholarly and popular periodicals. The articles cover a broad spectrum of disciplines and topics--ideal for every type of researcher. Learn more at www.cengage.com/infotrac. (Access code/card required).

List Price = $32.00  | College Bookstore Wholesale Price = $24.00

Student Supplements

InfoTrac®, 1 term (6 months) Instant Access  (ISBN-10: 1111577870 | ISBN-13: 9781111577872)

List Price = $29.00  | CengageBrain Price = $29.00  | College Bookstore Wholesale Price = $29.00

InfoTrac® College Edition Printed Access Card  (ISBN-10: 0534558534 | ISBN-13: 9780534558536)

Save time, save money, and eliminate the trek to the library and long waits for reserved readings with InfoTrac® College Edition, an online university library of more than 5,000 academic and popular magazines, newspapers, and journals.

List Price = $32.00  | College Bookstore Wholesale Price = $24.00

Meet the Author

Author Bio

Katherine Anne Ackley

Katherine Ackley taught in the English Department at the University of Wisconsin, Stevens Point from 1979 to 2002 and also served as coordinator of the Women's Studies Program for 10 years and assistant dean of Graduate Studies for five years. Her research interests center on women in literature, with emphasis on literary representations of women's issues and, more recently, British crime writers. Her books include THE NOVELS OF BARBARA PYM (1989), WOMEN AND VIOLENCE IN LITERATURE: AN ESSAY COLLECTION (1990), MISOGYNY IN LITERATURE: AN ESSAY COLLECTION (1992), and ESSAYS FROM CONTEMPORARY CULTURE (2004, 5th Edition). The author of dozens of published articles, she received more than 20 grants for research and development and was the first woman to receive the UWSP University Scholar Award. Dr. Ackley earned a master's degree in English from Purdue University and a Ph.D. in English from Ball State University.