The Challenge of Human Diversity: Mirrors, Bridges, and Chasms by DeWight R. Middleton
124 pages, $21.95 list
The Challenge of Human Diversity
Mirrors, Bridges, and Chasms
Third Edition
Middleton’s fair, uncluttered synthesis of a wide-ranging topic continues to offer inspiration for thinking about what it means to be different from—and similar to—Others. Brief ethnographic excerpts are interwoven to demonstrate the hold that culture has on us. Such firsthand experiences, reported by anthropologists, reveal the challenging and sometimes humorous situations that can arise when we attempt to understand Others—and when they do the same with us. Heralded by Anthropology Today: “Middleton, by making the sensory and intellectual challenge of culture shock so central to his pedagogic strategy, has found common ground that should unite all schools of cultural anthropology.”

The work brims with valuable insights that broaden possibilities to achieve rewarding human interaction, whether in our own neighborhood or across the globe. Arguably one of the best contemporary treatments of cultural diversity available, the latest edition includes expanded discussions of applied anthropology and ethics.

Outstanding features:
• uses personal narratives of actual fieldworkers to capture student interest
• builds a general model of understanding applicable to all forms of diversity
• stresses human commonality, and explains the origins of culture
• addresses cultural influences on emotions and intellect
• handles the topic concisely for increased flexibility in a variety of courses
• deals with the questions of how and for what purpose cultures should be compared
• guides the reader from the tribal village to the global village
“Every now and then, a really fine book comes along. I think this is one of them. It may well change the way cultural anthropology is taught.” —Paul Bohannan
Table of Contents
Introduction: The Challenge of Diversity
Understanding Diversity / The Strategy of Anthropology / Plan of the Book

1. Culture Shock
Shocks to the System / The Shock of the New

2. Common Ground
Brain, Mind, and Evolution / Social Race / Thought, Emotions, and Culture / Channeling Behavior

3. Our Lived Difference
Culture as Adaptation / Culture as Meaning / Culture as System

4. Mirrors and Chasms
Colonialism and Racism / The Noble Savage / Indigenous Response and Resistance / Images and Myths / Native Resurgence and Political Actions / The Ethics of Fieldwork

5. The Comparative Perspective
Early Comparisons / Survival Tasks and Sociocultural Complexity / Controlled Comparison: McWorld / Comparison in Applied Anthropology

6. Meeting the Challenge of Global Issues