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social sciences

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Benedict, Ruth (1887-1948)  
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Two days after her return to New York, Benedict suffered a heart attack and was hospitalized. Friends, including Valentine and Mead, gathered around her in her final few days.

Benedict died on September 17, 1948.

Sponsor Message.

After Benedict's death Mead took on the leadership of Research in Contemporary Cultures, concluding the work in 1951. She remained true to Benedict's vision of the project as an interdisciplinary and non-hierarchical enterprise that would highlight the perspective of women on society. Another important goal for Benedict was to create a working culture in which cooperation was valued. The result was extraordinarily successful: over fifty publications were produced.

In tribute to her mentor, Mead, who was Benedict's literary executor, wrote a biography of Benedict that included selections of her work and edited an extensive collection of Benedict's writings, An Anthropologist at Work (1959). In the introduction to the latter book, Mead said that she wanted "to set down what will otherwise be lost about how Ruth Benedict became a figure of transition, binding the broken sureties of a past age, to which she was fully heir, to the uncertainties which precede a new integration in human thinking, for we shall not look upon her like again."

Linda Rapp

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Blending elements from indigenous traditions and recently imported Western discourses of sexual identity, Japan is home to one of the most diverse and dynamic queer cultures in Asia.

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Although she was one of the most prominent and widely admired American anthropologists of her generation, Margaret Mead chose to keep her own bisexuality a secret.

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Benedict, Ruth. "Anthropology and the Abnormal." Journal of General Psychology 10 (1934): 59-82. Reprinted in An Anthropologist at Work: Writings of Ruth Benedict. Margaret Mead, ed. New York: Atherton Press, 1966. 262-283.

_____. Patterns of Culture. Boston and New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1934.

Caffrey, Margaret M. Ruth Benedict: Stranger in This Land. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1989.

Mead, Margaret. Ruth Benedict. New York: Columbia University Press, 1974.

Modell, Judith Schachter. Ruth Benedict: Patterns of a Life. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1983.


    Citation Information
    Author: Rapp, Linda  
    Entry Title: Benedict, Ruth  
    General Editor: Claude J. Summers  
    Publication Name: glbtq: An Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual,
Transgender, and Queer Culture
    Publication Date: 2004  
    Date Last Updated May 10, 2013  
    Web Address  
    Publisher glbtq, Inc.
1130 West Adams
Chicago, IL   60607
    Today's Date  
    Encyclopedia Copyright: © 2002-2006, glbtq, Inc.  
    Entry Copyright © 2004, glbtq, inc.  


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