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November 28, 2023 28 mins

After Derek Freeman publishes Margaret Mead and Samoa: The Making and Unmaking of an Anthropological Myth, the controversy heats up. Op-eds, documentaries, censure by a leading anthropological organization, and even a debate on the Phil Donahue Show all follow. 

Was Margaret Mead, “the grandmother of the world,” wrong? Or was Freeman? 

At stake was the heart of an academic discipline and the nature of being human. Mead’s own daughter, Mary Catherine Bateson, launches a defense, and other anthropologists weigh in too.

Season 6 of the SAPIENS podcast was co-produced by PRX and SAPIENS, and made possible by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

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