By Paul Shankman
In 1928 Margaret Mead released Coming of Age in Samoa, a desirable learn of the lives of adolescent ladies that remodeled Mead herself into an instructional superstar. In 1983 anthropologist Derek Freeman released a scathing critique of Mead’s Samoan examine, badly destructive her attractiveness. Resonating past educational circles, his case opposed to Mead tapped into vital public matters of the Eighties, together with sexual permissiveness, cultural relativism, and the nature/nurture debate. In venues from the New York Times to the television express Donahue, Freeman argued that Mead have been “hoaxed” by way of Samoans whose blameless lies she took at face value.
In The Trashing of Margaret Mead, Paul Shankman explores the various dimensions of the Mead-Freeman controversy because it constructed publicly and because it performed out privately, together with the private relationships, specialist rivalries, and larger-than-life personalities that drove it. supplying a severe viewpoint on Freeman’s arguments, Shankman stories key questions about Samoan sexuality, the alleged hoaxing of Mead, and the which means of the debate. Why have been Freeman’s arguments so easily authorised through pundits open air the sphere of anthropology? What did Samoans themselves imagine? Can Mead’s recognition be salvaged from the quicksand of controversy? Written in a fascinating, transparent sort and according to a cautious overview of the proof, The Trashing of Margaret Mead illuminates questions of tolerating importance to the academy and beyond. 2010 exceptional Lecturer in Anthropology on the American Museum of common History “The Trashing of Margaret Mead reminds readers of the pitfalls of academia. It urges students to prevent own assaults and to have interaction in fit debate. The e-book redeems Mead whereas additionally redeeming the sphere of anthropology. by way of exhibiting the distinctiveness of the Mead-Freeman case, Shankman locations his persevered self assurance in academia, students, and the sphere of anthropology.”—H-Net Reviews
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Extra info for The Trashing of Margaret Mead: Anatomy of an Anthropological Controversy (Studies in American Thought and Culture)
But Freeman’s book was not the only story of the period. There were other stories in 1983, the third year of the Reagan era, including news about the deepening cold war with the Soviet Union and the threat of nuclear confrontation, the bombing of Marine headquarters in Lebanon that killed 161 Americans, prolonged conflicts in Central America, and the American invasion of Grenada. In this context, there were diminishing returns to covering an anthropological controversy that the media had neither the expertise nor the resources to referee.
3 31 32 The Controversy and the Media The print media covered the story as a major event, but it was television that provided a broader audience. In fact, Harvard University Press decided to bring Freeman from Australia to the United States for a publicity tour. This was unusual for a university press, but in early 1983 the momentum surrounding the controversy was building, and Freeman was in demand. The controversy was so newsworthy that he was quickly booked on major TV talk shows. Harvard was taking a risk in asking Freeman to appear on national TV because he was an untested commodity.
Or would he be a liability? As it turned out, Freeman was more than up to the task. He appeared on PBS-hosted TV interviews and on ABC’s Good Morning America with anchor Barbara Walters. ” While these appearances may not have enhanced book sales very much, they did expose Freeman and his message to a wide audience. In Person: Freeman’s Appearance on the Donahue Show Freeman’s most important network television appearance came on March 18, 1983, on NBC’s Donahue show, which was taped in Chicago. Donahue was the top-rated daily TV talk show of its era, with millions of viewers, at least the equivalent of the Oprah Winfrey Show today.
The Trashing of Margaret Mead: Anatomy of an Anthropological Controversy (Studies in American Thought and Culture) by Paul Shankman