How Cultural Anthropologists Redefined Humanity | The New Yorker

A brave band of scholars set out to save us from racism and sexism. What happened?

By Louis Menand, August 19, 2019

The celebrated cultural anthropologist Margaret Mead, photographed in 1930.Photograph from Irving Browning / The New-York Historical Society / Getty

Editor’s note: Includes audio of article…

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.” Time called her “Mother to the World.” In 1979, the year after she died, President Jimmy Carter awarded her the Medal of Freedom.

Source: How Cultural Anthropologists Redefined Humanity | The New Yorker