Coming of Age in New Jersey: College and American Culture

Synopsis

"With Kinseyesque diligence [Moffatt] catalogues the sexual habits and fantasies of his students.... His book vibrates with quirky authenticity." --New York Times Book Review

"Useful for understanding the student experience... throughout the United States.... Beautifully written, carefully researched... a classic." --John Thelin, Educational Studies

"Michael Moffatt is a multitalented, multidisciplinary scholar... who writes without a trace of gobbledygook. He deserves a wide following." --Rupert Wilkinson, Journal of American Studies

"One of the most thoughtfully crafted case studies of undergraduate culture... ever written... a book every professor should read." --Paul J. Baker, Academe

Coming of Age is about college as students really know it and--often--love it. To write this remarkable account, Michael Moffatt did what anthropologists usually do in more distant cultures: he lived among the natives. His findings are sometimes disturbing, potentially controversial, but somehow very believable. Coming of Age is a vivid slice of life of what Moffatt saw and heard in the dorms of a typical state university, Rutgers, in the 1980s. It is full of student voices: naive and worldy-wise, vulgar and polite, cynical, humorous, and sometimes even idealistic. But it is also about American culture more generally: individualism, friendship, community, bureaucracy, diversity, race, sex, gender, intellect, work, and play. As an example of an ethnography written about an anthropologist's own culture, this book is an uncommon one. As a new and revealing perspective on the much-studied American college student, it is unique.