We live in an evolving world, a world that is becoming increasingly globalized by the
minute. Cultures collide and blend, leading to new customs and practices that exist
alongside long-standing traditions. Advancing technologies connect lives across the
globe, affecting those from densely populated urban areas to those who dwell in the
most remote locations in the world. Governments are changing, leading to war and vio-
lence but also to new opportunities for those who have been oppressed. The Under-
standing Modern Nations series seeks to answer questions about cultures, societies, and
customs in various countries around the world.
Understanding Modern Nations is geared toward readers wanting to expand their
knowledge of the world, ideal for high school students researching specific countries,
undergraduates preparing for studies abroad, and general readers interested in learning
more about the world around them. Each volume in the series focuses on a single coun-
try, with coverage on Africa, the Americas, Asia and the Pacific, and Europe.
Each country volume contains 16 chapters focusing on various aspects of culture and
society in each country. The chapters begin with an Overview, which is followed by
short entries on key topics, concepts, ideas, and biographies pertaining to the chapter’s
theme. In a way, these volumes serve as “thematic encyclopedias,” with entries organized
for the reader’s benefit. Following a general Preface and Introduction, each volume
contains chapters on the following themes:
Government and Politics
Religion and Thought
Social Classes and Ethnicity
Gender, Marriage, and Sexuality
Literature and Drama
Art and Architecture
Series Foreword
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