Friday, October 2, 2009

lives of Margaret Mead; of Clifford Geertz

Anthropologist About Town 

Diary for 1st October to 7th October 2009

Anthropologists who made history...

In 1923 Margaret Mead set off to Samoa to conduct research on adolescence. Mead became the first anthropologist to explore the realm of anthropology of childhood, and throughout her career she helped to popularise the discipline with her writings. Her work is included as mandatory texts in undergraduate degrees in North America and Europe. In this podcast, Professor Adam Cooper and June Goodfield reflect on Mead's career, the controversies surrounding the personal and professional life, and her impact on the discipline as a whole. If you'd like to know more about Mead's life and her research, the Library of Congress has an excellent online exhibition and an extensive archive collection on Mead.

After gaining a his first degree in Philosophy from Antioch College, Clifford Geertz went on to do his PhD in Anthropology at Harvard. Geertz did extensive research in Indonesia and then later in Morocco. Geertz was fascinated with the ways in which culture is expressed through ' a system of meanings embodied in symbols'. He became a founder of interpretive or symbolic anthropology, and his work was extremely influential within the discipline and beyond in other social sciences. In this podcast Byron Good, Professor of medical anthropology at Harvard Medical School, explains the contribution of Geertz's work to the discipline. For a wonderful summary of his life and work take a look a this obituary written in the New York Times.


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