Skip to content Skip to navigation

The Girl At the Baggage Claim: Explaining the East-West Culture Gap

Monday, September 25, 2017 - 6:00pm to 7:00pm
Reception to follow
Registration begins September 11 at 9 am
Members $15 and Non-members $20

The Girl At the Baggage Claim: Explaining the East-West Culture Gap

Gish Jen

The Girl At the Baggage Claim is a provocative and important study of the different ideas Easterners and Westerners have about the self and society and what this means for current debates in art, education, geopolitics, and business. Based on her 2012 Harvard Massey Lectures in American History, Gish Jen’s book explores two opposing perceptions of self: the Western “individualistic self” and the Eastern “flexi-self” and how these selves interact in today’s globalized world. Drawing on a treasure trove of personal stories and personal anecdotes as well as cutting-edge research in cultural psychology, Jen reveals how this cultural difference in perception of self influences what we say and do and make. Her storytelling skills and sense of humor take us from the classroom to the boardroom, the newsroom to the living room, shedding light on the East-West cultural divide playing out all around us.

Credit Romana VysatovaGish Jen is the author of four novels, a book of stories, and a previous book of nonfiction, Tiger Writing. Her honors include the Lannan Literary Award for fiction and the Mildred and Harold Strauss Living Award from the American Academy of Arts & Sciences. She teaches from time to time in China and otherwise lives with her husband and two children in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Pick up other books by first and second-generation American authors to see how they explore identity, sense of self, and American culture. Try Jhumpa Lahiri’s In Other Words (2016), Nella Larsen’s Quicksand (1928), or Chaim Potok’s The Book of Lights (1981).

To register, follow the registration button on the right. If you would prefer your information to pre-populate, log in to your My Athenæum Profile. To log in to your My Athenæum Profile click on the profile icon found in the upper right corner of each page on our website.

If you do not yet have a profile, select “New User? Create an account” on the Profile Login page. Members create their own accounts; a username and password are not assigned when you join the Athenæum.