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Grant number like: FA-53607-07

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Ira R. Bashkow
University of Virginia (Charlottesville, VA 22903-4833)

Fellowships for University Teachers
Research Programs

$40,000 (approved)
$40,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
9/1/2007 – 5/31/2008

Margaret Mead and the New Guinea Arapesh

I plan to write a book that develops a new, constructive form of critique in anthropology, encouraging a richer understanding of the ethnographic endeavor than current critiques presume. I do this by discussing the well-studied case of Margaret Mead's ethnography of New Guinea's Mountain Arapesh. Drawing on prior archival and field research, I reconstruct the story of Mead's Arapesh fieldwork and situate her ethnography within the multiple relevant historical contexts of Arapesh-colonial relations, American feminism, and Mead's tempestuous personal relationships. I argue that, although Mead's Arapesh ethnography is in many ways flawed, it has great enduring value and illustrates the multidimensional nature of ethnography.