The Dictionary of Global Culture: What Every American Needs to Know as We Enter the Next Century--from Diderot to Bo Diddley


Reference/World History

"Consistently informative, lively, and accurate . . . a pathbreaking achievement."                 —The New York Times Book Review

s the world's axes of population, power, and commerce shift from North to South and from West to East, the old Eurocentric model of culture is giving way to a new global paradigm. This dictionary, which has been compiled by two of our most esteemed...

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Reference/World History

"Consistently informative, lively, and accurate . . . a pathbreaking achievement."                 —The New York Times Book Review

s the world's axes of population, power, and commerce shift from North to South and from West to East, the old Eurocentric model of culture is giving way to a new global paradigm. This dictionary, which has been compiled by two of our most esteemed scholars, is the first work of its kind to devote equal emphasis to the cultural contributions of the non-Western world alongside those of Europe and North America.  
        Prepared by regional experts from five continents (including both scholars from other cultures and Western scholars of other cultures), the book's more than 1,200 entries include:
Chinua Achebe  ¸  Aeschylus  ¸  Bo Diddley   ¸  Denis Diderot   ¸  Martha Graham  ¸  The Great Leap Forward  ¸  Igbo  ¸  Inanna  ¸  Jainism  ¸  Henry James  ¸  John Milton  ¸  Yukio Mishima  ¸  Ramayana  ¸  Raphael  ¸  François Toussaint L'Ouverture  ¸  Trail of Tears  ¸  Zionism  ¸  Zydeco  
Vast in scope and lucidly written, The Dictionary of Global Culture is an indispensable reference for students, businesspeople, or anyone seeking a foothold in the civilization of the next millennium.

"Detailed, accurate and solid. . . . It contains much to interest and inform."                                                       —Baltimore Sun

From two of America's most esteemed and influential scholars comes an authoritative guide to world culture emphasizing the achievement of the non-Western world. Ranging from the Abassid Dynasty to Zydeco Music, The Dictionary of Global Culture provides a vast survey of subjects from all over the world, including entries on writers, musicians, deities, rulers, philosophies, and artistic forms. 512 pp. Media tour. National ads. 50,000 print.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Under the letter H in The Dictionary of Global Culture are listed Ernest Hemingway, Polish poet Zbigniew Herbert, Zionist leader Theodor Herzl, German novelist Hermann Hesse, Hiawatha (the real one), Mexican political leader Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla. M reveals the Australian explorer Sir Douglas Mawson, the (Chinese, anti-British) May 4th Movement, Maya (the people, not the veil), Russian revolutionary poet Vladimir Mayakovsky and, immediately below him (with lexicographic justice), Joseph McCarthy. Although the dictionary emphasizes "the achievements of the non-Western world," editors Kwame Anthony Appiah and Henry Louis Gates Jr. (both of Harvard's Afro-American studies department) have compiled an eclectic and inclusive reference (which is being released with a 50,000 first printing). (Knopf, $35 717p ISBN 0-394-58581-X)
Library Journal
Appiah, a professor in Harvard's philosophy and Afro-American studies departments, and renowned critic/author Gates (e.g., Colored People, LJ 5/1/94), the chair of the latter department, have compiled a selective dictionary that offers brief descriptions of the major concepts, documents, and people crucial to an understanding of world culture. Ranging from Oedipus Rex to baggataway (a Native American name for lacrosse), the entries in essence expand Edward Hirsch's Eurocentric concept of cultural literacy to a global context. By soliciting lists of important names from scholars worldwide, the editors have created a representative sample. Although some might quibble over omissions (James Weldon Johnson appears, but Andrew Johnson doesn't), this is a generally well-edited compilation. Recommended for large public and academic collections.-Anthony O. Edmonds, Ball State Univ., Muncie, Ind.
School Library Journal
YAThis dictionary's 1200 entries were submitted by esteemed scholars from all over the world who were asked to name the 50 most significant events in their cultures. Entries include literature, political groups, religion, and concepts, and vary in length from a paragraph to more than a full page. Connections are made between the entries' original contexts and the ways they have been expanded globally over time. For example, readers learn that the Chinese examination system served as the model for our civil service system. A sampling of people included are Jan Hus, a 15th-century religious reform leader; Taha Husayn, an Egyptian writer; Shi Hu, a Chinese scholar, educator, and diplomat; and Juana de Ibarbourou, an Uruguayan poet. Information about each individual includes the dates of birth and death, nationality, and significance to the culture. This exceptional work is useful for reference and is entertaining reading as well.Bobbi Thomas Skaggs, Robinson Secondary, Fairfax County, VA
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780679729853
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 12/28/1998
  • Edition description: 1 VINTAGE
  • Pages: 736
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 1.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Kwame Anthony Appiah

Kwame Anthony Appiah, the president of the PEN American Center, is the author of The Ethics of Identity, Thinking It Through: An Introduction to Contemporary Philosophy, The Honor Code and the prize-winning Cosmopolitanism.
Raised in Ghana and educated in England, he has taught philosophy on three continents and is currently a professor at Princeton University.

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