Event: Coming of Age: The Sexual Awakening of Margaret Mead, American Philosophical Society, PA, 8 March 2018

In honor of the American Philosophical Society‘s 275th anniversary, the Society’s 2018 lecture series will feature talks inspired by the APS’s history and the work of its Members. Margaret Mead was elected to the Society in 1977.

On 8 March 2018 the APS will host a public event entitled: Coming of Age: The Sexual Awakening of Margaret Mead, which will engage author Deborah Blum in a discussion of her new book of the same title. A reception will be held at 5:30pm, and the lecture will take place at 6:00pm. All events will take place in Benjamin Franklin Hall, 427 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, PA.

Deborah Blum’s book is coming-of-age story of famed anthropologist Margaret Mead whose radical ideas challenged the social and sexual norms of her time. The story begins in 1923, when twenty-two year old Margaret Mead is living in New York City, engaged to her childhood sweetheart and on the verge of graduating from college. Seemingly a conventional young lady, she marries, but shocks friends when she decides to keep her maiden name. After starting graduate school at Columbia University, she does the unthinkable: she first enters into a forbidden relationship with a female colleague, then gets caught up in an all-consuming and secret affair with a brilliant older man. As her sexual awakening continues, she discovers it is possible to be in love with more than one person at the same time.

While Margaret’s personal explorations are just beginning, her interest in distant cultures propels her into the new field of anthropology. Ignoring the constraints put on women, she travels alone to a tiny speck of land in the South Pacific called Samoa to study the sexual behavior of adolescent girls. Returning home on an ocean liner nine months later, a chance encounter changes the course of her life forever.

Now, drawing on letters, diaries, and memoirs, Deborah Beatriz Blum reconstructs these five transformative years of Margaret Mead’s life, before she became famous, revealing the story that she hid from the world – during her lifetime and beyond.

See here for additional details and RSVP information.

1 Comment

  1. Some pretty steamy writing in this book! “She was under him, the contours of her body fitting so perfectly with his. he felt her reposition herself and hike up her dress. He was conscious that her hands were at his belt, undoing it” (p. 155) –that’s all in the archives? “He” was Edward Sapir, widowed at the time.

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