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Professors' textbook looks at cultural interaction


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Communication Studies Professor David Zuckerman is one of three authors of a new textbook that seeks to literally add perspective to the comparison of cultures.


Intercultural Communication and Global Integration, by Zuckerman, the University of Oklahoma’s Eric Mark Kramer and Brigham Young University’s Clark Callahan, presents a new method for studying the subject.

Most textbooks, says Zuckerman, take one of two approaches on the topic – the quantitative, which ranks cultures on elements such as individualism or willingness to try new things; or the critical, which views culture as a battleground for power and looks at what groups are on the ascent and which are on the descent.

The trio of authors takes a different path based on the theories of philosophers Immanuel Kant, Friedrich Hegel and particularly Jean Gebser: How do the members of a particular culture relate to the things around them? How do they relate to other people?

Some of the answers can be found in what the people make, whether it’s art, architecture, religion or literature. “You can look at what people made and draw back from it what people were thinking,” Zuckerman says.

Our perception of personal space and how we use time are two other elements that change from culture to culture.

As an example, Zuckerman notes that someone from a rural setting is used to a great deal of personal space while those in urban settings are comfortable standing shoulder-to-shoulder with others on the bus or subway.

The book is being published by Kendall Hunt and is available in the Hornet Bookstore.

The three authors met in the early 2000s when Zuckerman and Clark were in a doctoral cohort at the University of Oklahoma and Kramer was their mentor.

They also belong to the Jean Gebser Society. “This work came out of our dedication to the Gebser Society and to the perpetuation of his approach to studying human consciousness,” Zuckerman says.

He adds that it is not unique to be a faculty author at Sacramento State, pointing out that there are several in his department alone. “This is a prolific department,” Zuckerman says. “I’m really proud to be one of the faculty authors at Sac State.”

For more information, call (916) 278-6541. For media assistance, call Sacramento State’s Public Affairs office at (916) 278-6156.

– Craig Koscho