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Reading Benedict / Reading Mead

'Reading Benedict / Reading Mead' cover image

Reading Benedict / Reading Mead

Feminism, Race, and Imperial Visions

As anthropologists, public intellectuals, and feminists, Ruth Benedict and Margaret Mead played remarkable roles in twentieth-century life and thought—and far beyond the academy. Their work helped to popularize anthropology while introducing such terms as culture and racism into common parlance. At the same time, they contributed to wider debates about environmentalism, sexuality, the women's movement, and American foreign policy. In this collection, prominent international scholars come together to explore the lives, works, and legacies of two influential figures in American anthropology.

The contributions reflect a wide range of topics and perspectives: Benedict and Mead's complicated personal and professional relationship; their activities as scholars and outspoken intellectuals; their efforts to promote feminism and undermine racism; their contributions to (and the challenges they posed to) the imperialist project; and the stories behind their best-known works, The Chrysanthemum and the Sword and Coming of Age in Samoa. Together, the essays provide a useful and provocative introduction to Benedict and Mead as well as to the ongoing debate about the legacy they left behind.

Contributors: Lois Banner, University of Southern California; Margaret M. Caffrey, University of Memphis; Nanako Fukui, Kansai University; Angela Gilliam, Evergreen State College; Pauline Kent, Ryukoku University; C. Douglas Lummis, Okinawa International University; Nancy Lutkehaus, University of Southern California; Judith Schachter Modell, Carnegie Mellon University; Maureen Molloy, University of Auckland; Louise M. Newman, University of Florida; Dolores E. Janiewski, Victoria University of Wellington; Christopher Shannon, University of Notre Dame; Gerald Sullivan, University of Notre Dame; Sharon Tiffany, University of Wisconsin, Whitewater; Jean Walton, University of Rhode Island; Virginia Yans, Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey