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Our Voices

Essays in Culture, Ethnicity, and Communication

Fifth Edition

Alberto Gonzalez, Marsha Houston, and Victoria Chen

Publication Date - February 2011

ISBN: 9780199737215

368 pages
7-1/2 x 9-1/4 inches

In Stock

Retail Price to Students: $72.95

A distinctive reader for the intercultural communication course, featuring the actual voices of contributors writing from their own particular cultural setting.


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 in the United States,
Empowering and educating students in equal measure, Our Voices is an ideal reader for any intercultural communication course.

New to this Edition

  • New essays on the Obama presidency, Osage naming rituals, Muslim feminist perspectives, South Asian Indian women in the workplace, class identity, and the Haitian tragedy in a global context
  • Expanded treatment of Arab Americans and the Muslim world
  • Reworked coverage of 9/11 to accommodate our most current understanding and scholarship

About the Author(s)

Bowling Green State University; University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa; San Francisco State University

Previous Publication Date(s)

October 2003


"I especially appreciate the fact the fact that the articles are written by scholars with various cultural backgrounds. It provides credible accounts of individuals' cultural experiences...the major strength of the book as compared to others in the market is the unique angle and perspective provided by its first-hand, story-telling style." --Mei Zhong, San Diego State University

"One of the strengths of this book is that it doesn't look at intercultural communication phenomena as 'objectively given', but rather as 'subjectively problematic' by integrating communication theory yet allowing persons to speak in their true cultural voices. If the idea is to create cultural understanding in a way that students from various groups will not tune out from the beginning, certainly the editors of this book took on a daunting task."--C. Thomas Preston, Gainesville State College

"I very much like the approach of this text. The attention to the voices of historically marginalized authors and the use of personal voice, rather than other approaches that have historically Othered and silenced us, are important in understanding the goals of this book."--Bernadette Calafell, Syracuse University

"If I can put it this way--the realness of this text is its most distinctive feature. In it we read about the struggles, the successes, the challenges, the learning experiences, the joys, and the spiritual uplift and rejuvenation of the authors. We have academic language combined with cultural language(s). All of it comes together succinctly to make crucial points regarding our identity. The articles are not too long, either, which is a joy to students, but they provide enough material to get students thinking critically about issues they've either encountered or not." --Patreece Boone, St. Louis University

Table of Contents

    * = New to this edition
    Introduction, Alberto González, Marsha Houston, and Victoria Chen
    Part I: Naming Ourselves
    *1. Imagining Identity within Community: Musings on Tripmaster Monkey, Victoria Chen
    *2. The Obama Presidency and the (Re)Framing of African American Identity, Marcus Coleman
    3. Dis/orienting Identities: Asian Americans, History, and Intercultural Communication, Thomas Nakayama
    *4. Osage Naming Ritual as a Form of Cultural Identity, Steven B. Pratt, Merry C. Pratt, and Rozilyn Miller
    5. Names, Narratives, and the Evolution of Ethnic Identity, Dolores V. Tanno
    Part II: Negotiating Sexuality and Gender
    *6. Women and Islam: A Muslim Feminist Perspective, Hoda Al-Mutawah
    7. Jewish and/or Woman: Identity and Communicative Style, Sheryl Perlmutter Bowen
    *8. Tyler Perry: The (Self-Appointed) Savior of Black Womanhood, Robin Means Coleman
    9. When Miss America Was Always White, Navita Cummings James
    10. Black Queer Identity, Imaginative Rationality, and the Language of Home, Charles I. Nero
    *11. Navigating the Third Space with Double Consciousness: South Asian Indian Women in the American Workplace, Suchitra Shenoy
    12. Constructing U.S. American Jewish Male Identity, David E. Weber
    Part III: Representing Cultural Knowledge in Interpersonal and Mass Media Contexts
    *13. Sister-Friends: Reflections on Black Women's Communication in Intra- & Intercultural Friendships, Nekita Huling, Creshema Murray, and Marsha Houston
    14. The Rhetoric of La Familia among Mexican Americans, Margarita Gangotena
    15. When Mississippi Chinese Talk, Gwendolyn Gong
    16. The Reason Why We Sing: Understanding Traditional African American Worship, Janice D. Hamlet
    17. Latina/o Experiences with Mediated Communication, Diana I. Ríos
    *18. "I Am Not Jamal": Asian Indians, Simplistic Perceptions, and the Model Minority Myth, Pravin Rodrigues
    19. Native American Culture and Communication through Humor, Charmaine Shutiva
    Part IV: Celebrating Cultures
    *20. Hispanic Heritage Month: Not for Members Only, Alberto González and Jennifer Willis-Rivera
    21. Capturing the Spirit of Kwanzaa, Detine L. Bowers
    22. Communicating Good Luck during the Chinese New Year, Mary Fong
    23. Hybrid Revivals: Ethnicity and South Asian Celebration, Radha S. Hegde
    Part V: Valuing and Contesting Languages
    24. Identity and Struggle in Jamaican Talk, Dexter B. Gordon
    25. The Power of Wastah in Lebanese Speech, Mahboub Hashem
    26. Broadening the View of Black Language Use: Toward a Better Understanding of Words and Worlds, Karla D. Scott
    27. Confessions of a Thirty-Something Hip-Hop (Old) Head, Eric King Watts
    Part VI: Living in Bicultural Relationships
    28. Sapphire and Sappho: Allies in Authenticity, Brenda J. Allen
    29. Creating a Family across Race and Gender Borders, Marlene Fine and Fern Johnson
    30. "I Know It Was the Blood": Defining the Biracial Self in a Euro-American Society, Tina M. Harris
    31. Struggling for Identity: Multiethnic and Biracial Individuals in America, Mona Freeman Leonard
    Part VII: Intersecting Identities of Class and Culture
    32. Invisible Identities: Notes on Class and Race, David Engen
    *33. Home as Respite for the Working-Class Academic, Katherine Hendrix
    *34. More than White: Locating an Invisible Class Identity, Brandi Lawless
    35. Working through Identity: Understanding Class in the Context of Race, Ethnicity, and Gender, Kathleen Wong (Lau)
    Part VIII: Traversing Cultural Paths
    *36. Temporally Legal: My Traveling across Borders of Im/migration, Hsin-I Cheng
    37. Women Writing Borders, Borders Writing Women: Immigration, Assimilation, and the Politics of Speaking, Aimee Carrillo Rowe
    38. The Cultural Experience of Space and Body: A Reading of Latin American and Anglo American Comportment in Public, Elizabeth Lozano
    39. Regionalism and Communication: Exploring Chinese Immigrant Perspectives, Casey Man Kong Lum
    40. Traversing Disparate Cultures in a Transnational World: A Bicultural/Hybrid Experience, Maria Rogers Pascual
    Part IX: Reflecting on Culture in Times of National Crisis
    *41. Notes from the "War Generation," Souhad Kahil
    42. Statue or Statement? Racial Tensions in a 9/11 Memorial, Teresa Nance and Anita Foeman
    *43. Haiti's Tragedy in a Global Context, Eddah Mutua-Kombo

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