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Truth's Fool

Derek Freeman and the War over Cultural Anthropology

Peter Hempenstall (author)

ISBN: 9780299314507

Publication Date: Jan 2018

Format: Hardback

New Zealand anthropologist Derek Freeman ignited a ferocious controversy in 1983 when he denounced the research of Margaret Mead, a world-famous public intellectual who had died five years earlier. Truth's Fool documents an intellectual journey that was much larger and more encompassing than Freeman's attack on Mead's work. It peels back the prickly layers to reveal the man in all his complexity.
£30.50

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New Zealand anthropologist Derek Freeman ignited a ferocious controversy in 1983 when he denounced the research of Margaret Mead, a world-famous public intellectual who had died five years earlier. Freeman's claims caught the attention of popular media, converging with other vigorous cultural debates of the era. Many anthropologists, however, saw Freeman's strident refutation of Mead's best-selling Coming of Age in Samoa as the culmination of a forty-year vendetta. Others defended Freeman's critique, if not always his tone.

Truth's Fool documents an intellectual journey that was much larger and more encompassing than Freeman's attack on Mead's work. It peels back the prickly layers to reveal the man in all his complexity. Framing this story within anthropology's development in Britain and America, Peter Hempenstall recounts Freeman's mission to turn the discipline from its cultural-determinist leanings toward a view of human culture underpinned by biological and behavioral drivers. Truth's Fool engages the intellectual questions at the center of the Mead–Freeman debate and illuminates the dark spaces of personal, professional, and even national rivalries.

Reviews

A perceptive intellectual biography of Freeman's evolving character, enthusiasms, and academic career that led to his fateful pursuit of Margaret Mead." - Lamont Lindstrom, author of Knowledge and Power in a South Pacific Society
Illustrations 17 black & white illustrations, 1 map
Pages 280
Dimensions 229 x 152 x 16
Date Published 30 Jan 2018
Publisher The University of Wisconsin Press
Subject/s Sociology & anthropology   Social & cultural anthropology   Australasian & Pacific history  
Peter Hempenstall is an emeritus professor of history at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand and a conjoint professor of history at the University of Newcastle in Australia. His many books include Pacific Islanders under German Rule and the biographies The Meddlesome Priest and The Lost Man: Wilhelm Solf in German History.

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