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Our Voices Essays in Culture, Ethnicity, and Communication

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  • Edition: 6th
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2015-10-15
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press

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Our Voices: Essays in Culture, Ethnicity, and Communication examines intercultural communication through an array of cultural and personal perspectives, with each of its contributors writing a first-person account of his or her experiences in the real world. While most readers are collections of scholarly essays that describe intercultural communication, Our Voices presents short, student-oriented readings chosen with an eye toward engaging the reader. Collectively, the readings tackle the key areas of communication-rhetoric, mass communication, and interpersonal communication-using a uniquely expansive and humanist perspective that provides a voice to otherwise marginalized members of society. Praised by students for its abundance of short, first-person narratives, Our Voices traverses topics as diverse as queer identity, racial discourse, and codes of communication in nontraditional families.

Table of Contents

Alberto González and Yea-Wen Chen

*Preview to Part I

Part I: Naming Ourselves

*1. "What's in a Name?" Shifting Meanings, Negotiating Identities, and Globalizing Relationships
Yea-Wen Chen
Chen identifies the cultural and global forces that influence naming in professional and family settings.

*2. Growing Up Together: The Internet, Cultural Knowledge, and Thai Names
Jenny Ungbha Korn
Korn traces her growing understanding of and connection to her Thai heritage to the rise of the Internet and social media.

3. Dis/orienting Identities: Asian Americans, History, and Intercultural Communication
Thomas Nakayama
Nakayama argues for the centrality of the Japanese American experience in the making of American culture and history.

4. Osage Naming Ritual as a Form of Cultural Identity
Steven B. Pratt, Merry C. Pratt, and Rozilyn Miller
The authors describe how the centuries-old Osage naming ritual connects contemporary Osages to tribal identity.

5. Names, Narratives, and the Evolution of Ethnic Identity
Dolores V. Tanno
Tanno describes how each ethnic self-reference communicates a story and how multiple stories provide significance to an American identity.

*Preview to Part II

Part II: Representing Cultural Knowledge in Interpersonal and Mediated Contexts

*6. I Am Hearing Impaired: Negotiating Identity in a Hearing World
John Parrish-Sprowl
Parrish-Sprowl explains how a new cultural and professional identity is negotiated when he becomes hearing impaired.

7. Sister-Friends: Reflections on Black Women's Communication in Intra- and Intercultural Friendships
Nekita Huling, Creshema Murray, and Marsha Houston
The authors explore the importance of co-creating safe spaces for speaking, using in-group language style, and social support in the construction of Black women's intracultural and intercultural friendships.

8. The Rhetoric of La Familia among Mexican Americans
Margarita Gangotena
Gangotena uses the concept of la familia to explore Mexican American family communication.

9. When Mississippi Chinese Talk
Gwendolyn Gong
Gong describes speech strategies used by Chinese from the Mississippi Delta.

10. The Reason Why We Sing: Understanding Traditional African American Worship
Janice D. Hamlet
Hamlet explores how the rhetorical style of preachers in traditional black churches preserves the cultural identity of black communities.

11. Latina/o Experiences with Mediated Communication
Diana I. Ríos
Ríos discusses the dual functions of mass media, online media and social media in Mexican American communities in Texas.

12. "I Am Not Jamal": Asian Indians, Simplistic Perceptions, and the Model Minority Myth
Pravin Rodrigues
In the 2008 film Slumdog Millionaire, U.S. audiences view representations of contemporary India. Rodrigues examines these representations in light of his interpersonal relationships.

13. Native American Culture and Communication Through Humor
Charmaine Shutiva
Shutiva challenges some of the stereotypes about Native Americans and discusses the role that humor plays in their culture.

14. Statue or Statement? Racial Tensions in a 9/11 Memorial
Teresa Nance and Anita Foeman
Nance and Foeman examine how public opposition to a sculpture honoring New York City firefighters reveals the uneasy state of race relations in the United States.

*Preview to Part III

Part III: Negotiating Sexuality and Gender

15. Women and Islam: A Muslim Feminist Perspective
Hoda Al-Mutawah
An interview with Al-Mutawah, who responds to questions posed by U.S. students.

16. Jewish and/or Woman: Identity and Communicative Style
Sheryl Perlmutter Bowen
Bowen explores the particular intersection of her Jewish upbringing and the feminism she adopted as an adult.

17. Tyler Perry: The (Self-Appointed) Savior of Black Womanhood
Robin R. Means Coleman
Tyler Perry's representations of African American women in recent films are critically examined.

18. When Miss America Was Always White
Navita Cummings James
James reflects on the meaning of blackness and black womanhood through family stories and personal experiences.

19. Black Queer Identity, Imaginative Rationality, and the Language of Home
Charles I. Nero
The meaning of home and community for African American gay men is explored through poetry, song lyrics, and feminist and gay/lesbian theory.

20. Navigating the Third Space with Double Consciousness: South Asian Indian Women in the American Workplace
Suchitra Shenoy-Packer
Shenoy-Packer describes her attempts to become accepted in the U.S. workplace while balancing new and often conflicting categories of identity.

21. Constructing U.S. American Jewish Male Identity
David E. Weber
Weber describes the tensions and challenges that occur when Jewish identity is marked as unusual.

*Preview to Part IV

Part IV: Celebrating Cultures

22. Hispanic Heritage Month: Not for Members Only
Alberto González and Jennifer Willis-Rivera
González and Willis-Rivera examine the rhetorical opportunities and challenges that accompany annual ethnic celebrations.

23. Communicating Good Luck During the Chinese New Year
Mary Fong
Fong discusses good luck expressed through speech and gift-giving practices that display goodwill and affection.

24. Hybrid Revivals: Ethnicity and South Asian Celebration
Radha S. Hegde
Hegde describes how Hindu festivals inspire their participants despite outside efforts to limit "foreign" cultural gatherings.

*Preview to Part V

Part V: Valuing and Contesting Languages

25. Identity and Struggle in Jamaican Talk
Dexter B. Gordon
Gordon describes the creative "survival mechanisms" in Jamaican talk that privilege the local and counter the colonial.

26. The Power of Wastah in Lebanese Speech
Mahboub Hashem
Hashem examines wastah as an effective Lebanese method of mediating conflicts and relationships.

27. Broadening the View of Black Language Use: Toward a Better Understanding of Words and Worlds
Karla D. Scott
Scott examines misconceptions about black language use and explains how local ways of speaking are markers of identity and solidarity.

28. Confessions of a Thirty-Something Hip-Hop (Old) Head
Eric King Watts
Watts interprets the tensions that arise when popular culture takes the "N-word" from private in-house dialogues and distributes it in the easy-to-open package of hip-hop.

*Preview to Part VI

Part VI: Living in Bicultural Relationships

29. Sapphire and Sappho: Allies in Authenticity
Brenda J. Allen
Allen describes her interracial friendship with a lesbian colleague and how the two overcame sanctions against such a relationship.

30. Creating a Family Across Race and Gender Borders
Marlene Fine and Fern Johnson
As white mothers of two adopted African American boys, Fine and Johnson examine the communication codes operating in the creation of their multiracial and "nontraditional" family.

31. "I Know It Was the Blood": Defining the Biracial Self in a Euro-American Society
Tina M. Harris
In exploring the biracial identities of her students, Harris comes to appreciate her own biracial heritage.

32. Struggling for Identity: Multiethnic and Biracial Individuals in America
Mona Freeman Leonard
Leonard reveals how social intolerance of racial ambiguity poses dilemmas and interpersonal challenges for multiethnic individuals.

*Preview to Part VII

Part VII: Intersecting Identities of Class and Culture

33. Invisible Identities: Notes on Class and Race
David Engen
Engen invites readers to consider the ways in which America's working class can and should be considered a cultural community.

34. Home as Respite for the Working-Class Academic
Katherine G. Hendrix
Hendrix traces her journey from her "working poor" upbringing to "affluent class" lifestyle.

35. More Than White: Locating an Invisible Class Identity
Brandi Lawless
Lawless explores the construction of "lower class" white identity in her personal and academic experiences.

36. Working Through Identity: Understanding Class in the Context of Race, Ethnicity, and Gender
Kathleen Wong(Lau)
Wong(Lau) interprets the intertwining aspects of race, gender, and class as she recounts her coming of age in both Chinese immigrant and American university settings.

*Preview to Part VIII

Part VIII: Traversing Cultural Paths

*37. Deconstructing the Refugee Body: Toward an Intercultural Understanding of Refugee and Host Communities
Eddah Mbula Mutua
Based on her extensive work with refugee communities in Africa and in the U.S., Mbula Mutua explores the question: How do we begin to understand the interactions between refugee and host communities?

*38. Parenting in a Foreign Land: Experiences of Recent Chinese Immigrant Women
Qi Tang
Tang reveals the complex balance of considerations faced by a small group of Chinese mothers in the U.S. South as they raise Chinese American children.

39. Temporally Legal: My Traveling Across Borders of Im/migration
Hsin-I Cheng
Cheng describes the process of "documenting" transnational workers.

40. Women Writing Borders, Borders Writing Women: Immigration, Assimilation and the Politics of Speaking
Aimee Carrillo Rowe
Carrillo Rowe deconstructs immigration politics as she examines her family's migratory history.

41. The Cultural Experience of Space and Body: A Reading of Latin American and Anglo-American Comportment in Public
Elizabeth Lozano
Lozano discusses assumptions about "public space" in Anglo-American and Latin American cultures.

42. Regionalism and Communication: Voices from the Chinese Diaspora
Casey Man Kong Lum
Lum discusses regional differences among Chinese communities in New York City and how ethnic identity is maintained.

43. Notes from the "War Generation": Lebanon and the 33 Days War
Souhad Kahil
Growing up during the occupation of South Lebanon, Kahil experiences the "Thirty-Three Day War" between Hezbollah and Israel.

*Appendix A: Suggested Questions for Discussion

*Appendix B: Supplementary Reading

*Appendix C: About the Contributors

* New or revised for this edition.

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