An Anthropologist at Work

Overview

An Anthropologist at Work is the product of a long collaboration between Ruth Benedict and Margaret Mead. Mead, who was Benedict?s student, colleague, and eventually her biographer, here has collected the bulk of Ruth Benedict?s writings. This includes letters between these two seminal anthropologists, correspondence with Franz Boas (Benedict?s teacher), Edward Sapir?s poems, and notes from studies that Benedict had collected throughout her life. Since Benedict wrote little, Mead has fleshed out the narratives by...

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Overview

An Anthropologist at Work is the product of a long collaboration between Ruth Benedict and Margaret Mead. Mead, who was Benedict’s student, colleague, and eventually her biographer, here has collected the bulk of Ruth Benedict’s writings. This includes letters between these two seminal anthropologists, correspondence with Franz Boas (Benedict’s teacher), Edward Sapir’s poems, and notes from studies that Benedict had collected throughout her life. Since Benedict wrote little, Mead has fleshed out the narratives by adding background information on Benedict’s life, work, and the cultural atmosphere of the time.

Ruth Benedict formed her own view of the contribution of anthropology before the first steps were taken in the study of how individual human beings, with their given potentialities, came to embody their culture. In her later work, she came to accept and sometimes to use the work in culture and personality that depended as much upon social psychology as upon cultural anthropology. She came to recognize that society—made up of persons or organized in groups—was as important as a subject of study as the culture of a society.

This volume, greatly enhanced by Mead’s contributions, is a record of what was important to Benedict in her life and work. It is expertly ordered and assembled in a way that will be accessible to students and professionals alike.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“This is a warm and human document, edited by one who was always close to Ruth Benedict.”

—Marvin K. Opler, American Anthropologist

“[A] fascinating source of insights into a remarkable woman presented by another remarkable woman, it will well reward any reader.”

—Julian H. Steward, Science

“Margaret Mead was first her pupil and her lifelong friend and colleague; now as her literary executor and biographer, she has assembled the best of Ruth’s papers, her journals, her letters, and her hitherto published or unpublished poems into a volume which makes fascinating reading for students of the humanities and the social sciences.”

—William N. Fenton, Journal of American Folklore

“This book is a personal memoir to an unusual and creative personality who was a loved friend and colleague of its editor and part author.”

—A. I. Richards, American Journal of Sociology

“The descriptions of Benedict’s career and influence are greatly enriched by selections from personal documents of hers… From these materials we can reconstruct the main outlines of a life.”

—Donald Cook, New Republic

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781412818506
  • Publisher: Transaction Publishers
  • Publication date: 8/4/2011
  • Pages: 616
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.80 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Ruth Benedict (1887-1948) was professor of anthropology at Columbia University and an American anthropologist known mostly for her work on moving anthropology and folklore in a direction towards the theories of performance as an interpretation of culture. She is the author of numerous books including The Concept of the Guardian Spirit, Patterns of Culture, and Zuni Mythology.

Margaret Mead (1901-1978) was associated with the American Museum of Natural History in New York for over fifty years, becoming curator of ethnology in 1964. She taught at Columbia University and the New School for Social Research as well as many other universities throughout her lifetime. Some of her books include Culture and Commitment, Continuities in Cultural Evolution, andThe Mountain Arapesh.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vii

Introduction xv

Part I

Search: 1920-1930 Margaret Mead 3

The Vision in Plains Culture 18

A Matter for the Field Worker in Folklore 36

Cups of Clay 38

Counters in the Game 40

The Uses of Cannibalism 44

Selections from the Correspondence of Edward Sapir with Ruth Benedict: 1922-1923 49

Two Diaries 55

Diary: 1923 56

Diary: 1926 72

Part II

Anne Singleton: 1889-1934 Margaret Mead 83

The Story of My Life ... 97

The Sense of Symbolism 113

Journals 118

Journal: 1912-1916 118

Journal Fragments: 1915-1934 135

Preface to an Anthology 156

Selections from the Correspondence of Edward Sapir with Ruth Benedict: 1923-1938 158

Part III

Patterns of Culture: 1922-1934 Margaret Mead 201

A Brief Sketch of Serrano Culture 213

They Dance for Rain in Zuñi 222

An Introduction to Zuñi Mythology 226

Dominant Cultural Attitudes in Manu'a Margaret Mead 246

Psychological Types in the Cultures of the Southwest 248

Anthropology and the Abnormal 262

Selections from Correspondence to and from the Field: 1924-1934 284

Part IV

The Years as Boas' Left Hand Margaret Mead 341

The Bond of Fellowship 356

Race Prejudice in the United States 358

Postwar Race Prejudice 361

The Natural History of War 369

Ideologies in the Light of Comparative Data 383

Primitive Freedom 386

Selections from the Correspondence between Ruth Benedict and Franz Boas: 1923-1940 399

Franz Boas: An Obituary 419

Part V

The Postwar Years: The Gathered Threads Margaret Mead 425

Recognition of Cultural Diversities in the Postwar World 439

Child Rearing in Certain European Countries 449

Anthropology and the Humanities 459

Part VI

Selected Poems: 1941 473

Mary Wollstonecraft 491

Chronology 523

Notes 527

Index of Personal Names 565

Index of Subjects 573

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