How Cultural Anthropologists Redefined Humanity
Not that long ago, Margaret Mead was one of the most widely known intellectuals in America. Her first book, “Coming of Age in Samoa,” published in 1928, when she was twenty-six, was a best-seller, and for the next fifty years she was a progressive voice in national debates about everything from sex and gender to nuclear policy, the environment, and the legalization of marijuana. (She was in favor—and this was in 1969.) She had a monthly column in Redbook that ran for sixteen years and was read by millions. She advised government agencies, testified before Congress, and lectured on all kinds of subjects to all kinds of audiences. She was Johnny Carson’s guest on the “Tonight Show.” Today, Margaret Mead lives on as an “icon”—meaning that people might recognize the name, and are not surprised to see her face on a postage stamp (as it once was), but they couldn’t tell you what she wrote or said. Boas was born and educated in Prussia. Boas was trained as a physicist.
Related: Indigenous Peoples of the world
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