xi Series Foreword 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 violence 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 learn- ing more about the world around them. Each volume in the series focuses on a single country, 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 chap- ter’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: Geography History Government and Politics Economy Religion and Thought Social Classes and Ethnicity Gender, Marriage, and Sexuality Education Language Etiquette Literature and Drama Art and Architecture
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