front cover of Confronting Margaret Mead
Confronting Margaret Mead
Scholarship, Empire, and the South Pacific
edited by Lenora Foerstel and Angela Gilliam
Temple University Press, 1994
"...valuable information, ideas, and contrasts." --Choice The legendary Margaret Mead changed Americans' views of themselves by relating information collected from remote peoples to our society--a society that she did not consider necessarily to be the pinnacle of human development. However, Mead and her followers have been criticized for promulgating sensationalized and inaccurate images of Melanesian societies, including savagery, cannibalism, and wanton sexuality. This book deals with the consequences of such Western condescension. Destined to be highly controversial, this book for the first time brings a multicultural outlook to bear on Margaret Mead, scrutinizing her role and impact on Western anthropology, colonialism, and strategic and business interests in the South Pacific. The contributors, most of them avowedly activist supporters of the concept of a nuclear-free and independent Pacific, include Warilea Iamo, Papua New Guinea's first anthropologist; John D. Waiko, Director of the New Guinea Institute of Applied Social and Economic Research; Nahau Rooney, the daughter of one of Mead's informants, and; Susanna Ounei, a leader of a New Caledonian independence front. "This book is a remarkable portrait of a scholar and a field, both fierce and fair. The conjecture of perspectives--ethnography and empire, personal history and public practice, voices from the Pacific as well as the United States--makes a document important for assessing anthropology, both past and future." --Dell Hymes, University of Virginia, and editor of Reinventing Anthropology "Mead's attitude toward and activities in relation to her country's foreign and military policies are under scrutiny here, and so is her relationship with the subjects of her research. Such critical assessment of leading scholars is crucial to improvement of academic research and scholastic work and building trust, confidence, and good relations among poe0ples of the world." --Amelia Rokotuivuna, Young Women's Christian Association, Fiji, and former Chair of the Nuclear-Free Pacific Conference
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Margaret Mead and Samoa
Derek Freeman
Harvard University Press, 1983

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Margaret Mead, Gregory Bateson, and Highland Bali
Fieldwork Photographs of Bayung Gede, 1936-1939
Gerald Sullivan
University of Chicago Press, 1999
In 1936 anthropologist Margaret Mead and her husband, Gregory Bateson, retreated from lowland Bali, which was the focal point of much scholarly and tourist activity, to the remote village of Bayung Gedé in the island's central highlands. Although they wrote relatively little about their work in this place, which Mead called "our village, way up in the mountains, a lovely self-contained village," they did leave behind a remarkably rich and extensive photographic record of their time there.

Margaret Mead, Gregory Bateson, and Highland Bali includes 200 photographs that the couple took between 1936 and 1939, the vast majority of which have never before been published. They vividly capture the everyday lives of the men, women, and children of Bayung Gedé, their homes and their temples, and many other fascinating details of village life not featured in Mead and Bateson's publications.

In a substantial introductory essay, Gerald Sullivan, who selected the photographs, uses excerpts from fieldnotes and correspondence to illuminate Mead and Bateson's ethnographic work. Tracing the project from its inception in their proposals to the publication of their work, Sullivan shows how they used the photographs both as fieldnotes and as elements in their theoretical argument. Finally, he explores what the photographs reveal—independently of Mead and Bateson's project—about the Balinese character to the contemporary viewer.

The result is a both a substantial contribution to visual anthropology and an invaluable supplement to the published works of Margaret Mead and Gregory Bateson.
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The Trashing of Margaret Mead
Anatomy of an Anthropological Controversy
Paul Shankman; Foreword by Paul S. Boyer
University of Wisconsin Press, 2009
In 1928 Margaret Mead published Coming of Age in Samoa, a fascinating study of the lives of adolescent girls that transformed Mead herself into an academic celebrity. In 1983 anthropologist Derek Freeman published a scathing critique of Mead’s Samoan research, badly damaging her reputation. Resonating beyond academic circles, his case against Mead tapped into important public concerns of the 1980s, including sexual permissiveness, cultural relativism, and the nature/nurture debate. In venues from the New York Times to the TV show Donahue, Freeman argued that Mead had been “hoaxed” by Samoans whose innocent lies she took at face value.
    In The Trashing of Margaret Mead, Paul Shankman explores the many dimensions of the Mead-Freeman controversy as it developed publicly and as it played out privately, including the personal relationships, professional rivalries, and larger-than-life personalities that drove it. Providing a critical perspective on Freeman’s arguments, Shankman reviews key questions about Samoan sexuality, the alleged hoaxing of Mead, and the meaning of the controversy. Why were Freeman’s arguments so readily accepted by pundits outside the field of anthropology? What did Samoans themselves think? Can Mead’s reputation be salvaged from the quicksand of controversy? Written in an engaging, clear style and based on a careful review of the evidence, The Trashing of Margaret Mead illuminates questions of enduring significance to the academy and beyond.
 
 
2010 Distinguished Lecturer in Anthropology at the American Museum of Natural History
 
The Trashing of Margaret Mead reminds readers of the pitfalls of academia. It urges scholars to avoid personal attacks and to engage in healthy debate. The book redeems Mead while also redeeming the field of anthropology. By showing the uniqueness of the Mead-Freeman case, Shankman places his continued confidence in academia, scholars, and the field of anthropology.”—H-Net Reviews
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Truth's Fool
Derek Freeman and the War over Cultural Anthropology
Peter Hempenstall
University of Wisconsin Press, 2017
New Zealand anthropologist Derek Freeman ignited a ferocious controversy in 1983 when he denounced the research of Margaret Mead, a world-famous public intellectual who had died five years earlier. Freeman's claims caught the attention of popular media, converging with other vigorous cultural debates of the era. Many anthropologists, however, saw Freeman's strident refutation of Mead's best-selling Coming of Age in Samoa as the culmination of a forty-year vendetta. Others defended Freeman's critique, if not always his tone.

Truth's Fool documents an intellectual journey that was much larger and more encompassing than Freeman's criticism of Mead's work. It peels back the prickly layers to reveal the man in all his complexity. Framing this story within anthropology's development in Britain and America, Peter Hempenstall recounts Freeman's mission to turn the discipline from its cultural-determinist leanings toward a view of human culture underpinned by biological and behavioral drivers. Truth's Fool engages the intellectual questions at the center of the Mead–Freeman debate and illuminates the dark spaces of personal, professional, and even national rivalries.
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