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A Note to Students

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    If you are a student, you may be reading this book because you are enrolled in:

    • IELI 2470—Cross-Cultural Perspectives, or perhaps
    • IELI 2475—Cross-Cultural Explorations

    These courses are designed to fulfill General Education breadth requirements in social sciences at USU (Utah State University). As the USU Catalog states:

    General Education breadth requirements are intended to introduce students to the nature, history, and methods of different disciplines; and to help students understand the cultural, historical, and natural contexts shaping the human experience.

    The title of this book is Speaking of Culture and its purpose is to define culture and many other concepts associated with it. My hope is that the readings in this book will help you to better understand the breadth of the concept of culture and provide you with a vocabulary for discussing it more articulately.

    Culture is one of those broad concepts that is used widely, although somewhat imprecisely, in everyday English. It also cuts across many academic disciplines, and this book draws on many of them. It touches, for instance, on anthropology, biology, history, mythology, political science, psychology, and sociology.

    This book will not be the only material you will study in IELI 2470/2475. Your professor may provide you with additional readings and/or encourage you to do independent research on topics of interest. You may watch culturally relevant movies or documentaries. You will, I hope, also have grand conversations with your peers.

    My name, by the way, is Nolan Weil. I have been a professor in the Intensive English Language Institute (IELI) since 2004 and have taught this course or similar courses many times over the years. Perhaps I will be your teacher for this course, or perhaps you will have another professor from IELI. If I am your teacher, you will get to know me better as we meet regularly face-to face throughout the semester. If I am not your teacher, you may know me perhaps only as the voice behind this text.

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