In this unit (to accompany the SAPIENS podcast S6E4), students will learn counterarguments to Mead’s 1920s Samoan research from her harshest critic, Derek Freeman. Taking into consideration Freeman’s experiences and how he presented his research and conclusions, students will critically consider if his arguments hold weight and what lessons scholars can garner from the Mead versus Freeman controversy.
The idea that an individual’s culture influences their personality, emotions, and behaviors.
Studies the biological and cultural evolution of human beings from the past to the present. This all-encompassing field includes archaeology, behavioral ecology, psychology, primatology, and genetics.
A sharing of characteristics or origins, also used to describe a blood relationship.
A way of thinking that states laws and rules deride their truth from scientific or mathematical proofs. Positivism dismisses moral considerations.
A treatment based on the idea that our past shapes our present. The treatment aims to tap into unacknowledged meanings and emotions from past events that influence our current moods and relationships.
Appell, George. “Freeman’s Refutation of Mead’s Coming of Age in Samoa: The Implications for Anthropological Inquiry.” The Eastern Anthropologist 37 (1984): 183-214.
Heppell, Michael. “Freeman and the Abuse of Authority.” Journal of the Humanities and Social Sciences of Southeast Asia and Oceania 174, no. 4 (2018): 450-471.
Lougheed, Marion. “‘Truth’s Fool: Derek Freeman and the War Over Cultural Anthropology’ by Peter Hempenstall.” History of Anthropology Review 44 (2020).
Shankman, Paul. “The ‘Fateful Hoaxing’ of Margaret Mead.” Current Anthropology 54, no. 1 (2013): 51–70.
Book: Margaret Mead’s Coming of Age in Samoa
Book: Derek Freedman’s Margaret Mead and Samoa: The Making and Unmaking of an Anthropological Myth
Book: Derek Freedman, The Fateful Hoaxing of Margaret Mead: A Historical Analysis of her Samoan Research
Book: Paul Shankman’s The Trashing of Margaret Mead
Book: Peter J. A. Hempenstall’s Truth’s fool: Derek Freeman and the War Over Cultural Anthropology
Film: Frank Heimans, “Margaret Mead and Samoa
Interview: “Derek Freeman Interviewed by Frank Heimans”
Podcast: New Book’s Network’s “Truth’s Fool ‘Derek Freeman and the War over Cultural Anthropology’”
Catherine Torres, Freedom Learning Group