The Fateful Hoaxing of Margaret Mead: A Historical Analysis of Her Samoan Research


In The Fateful Hoaxing of Margaret Mead, Derek Freeman conducts a detailed historical analysis of Margaret Mead's Samoan researches and of her training in New York by Franz Boas and Ruth Benedict. By examining hitherto unpublished correspondence between Mead, her mentor Boas, and others -- as well as the sworn testimony of Fa'apua'a Fa'am, one of Mead's traveling companions of 1926 -- Freeman provides compelling evidence that one of the most influential anthropological studies of the twentieth century was unwittingly based on the mischievous joking of the investigator's informants. But The Fateful Hoaxing of Margaret Mead goes beyond a historical account of how the hoax took place; it is an examination of how Mead's Boasian training set her up to be hoaxed -- and set others up to accept her conclusions.

Additional information

Publisher: Place of publication:
  • Boulder, CO
Publication year:
  • 1999


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