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Ruth Fulton Benedict (June 5, 1887 – September 17, 1948) was a united states anthropologist and folklorist.
She was created in New You are able to City, attended Vassar College and graduated in 1909. After studying anthropology in the New School of Social Research under Elsie Clews Parsons, she joined graduate studies at Columbia College in 1921, where she studied under Franz Boas. She received her PhD and became a member of the school in 1923. Margaret Mead, that she shared an intimate relationship, and Marvin Opler, were among her students and colleagues.
Benedict held the publish of President from the American Anthropological Association and it was additionally a prominent person in the American Folklore Society. She grew to become the very first lady to become acknowledged as a leading leader of the learned profession. She may very well be a transitional estimate her field, redirecting both anthropology and folklore from the limited confines of culture-trait diffusion studies and towards theories of performance as integral towards the interpretation of culture. She studied the relationships between personality, art, language and culture, insisting that no trait existed in isolation or self-sufficiency, an idea which she championed in her own 1934 Patterns of Culture.
Benedict was created Ruth Fulton in New You are able to City on June 5, 1887, to Beatrice (Shattuck) and Ernest Fulton. Her mother labored within the city like a teacher, while her father went after an encouraging career like a homeopathic physician and surgeon. Although Mr. Fulton loved his work and research, it eventually brought to his premature dying, because he acquired a mystery disease during certainly one of his surgeries in 1888. Because of his illness the household moved to Norwich, New You are able to towards the farm of Ruth’s maternal grandma and grandpa, the Shattucks. Annually later he died, 10 days after coming back from a vacation to Trinidad to look for a remedy.
Mrs. Fulton was deeply impacted by her husband’s passing. Any reference to him caused her to become at a loss for grief every March she cried at church as well as in bed. Ruth hated her mother’s sorrow and viewed it as being a weakness. On her, the finest taboos in existence were crying before people and showing expressions of discomfort. She reminisced, “I didn’t love my mother I resented her cult of grief”. Due to this, the mental effects on her behalf childhood were profound, for “in a single stroke she [Ruth] experienced losing two of the most adding nourishment to and protective people around her—the lack of her father at dying and her mother to grief”.
Like a toddler, she contracted measles which left her partly deaf, that was not discovered until she started school. Ruth also were built with a passion for dying like a youthful child. When she was 4 years old her grandmother required her to determine a baby which had lately died. Upon seeing the dead child’s face, Ruth claimed it had become the most amazing factor she’d seen.
At seven Ruth started to create short verses and browse any book she might get her on the job. Her favorite author was Jean Ingelow and her favorite readings were A of Bregenz and also the Judas Tree. Through writing she could gain approval from her family. Writing was her outlet, and she or he authored by having an insightful perception concerning the realities of existence. For instance, in her own senior year of highschool she authored a bit known as, “Lulu’s Wedding (A Real Story)” by which she remembered the marriage of the family serving girl. Rather of romanticizing the big event, she revealed the real, unromantic, arranged marriage that Lulu experienced since the man would take her, despite the fact that he was older.
Although Ruth Benedict’s passion for dying began while very young, she ongoing to review how dying affected people throughout her career. In her own book Patterns of Culture, Benedict studied the Pueblo culture and just how they worked with grieving and dying. She describes within the book that folks may cope with reactions to dying, for example frustration and grief, differently. Societies have the ability to social norms they follow some allow more expression when confronted with dying, for example mourning, while other societies aren’t permitted to understand it.
After senior high school, Margery (her sister) and Ruth could enter St Margaret’s School for Women, a university preparatory school, with the aid of a complete-time scholarship. The women were effective in class and joined Vassar College in September 1905 where Ruth thrived within an all-female atmosphere. In those times tales were circulating that attending college brought women to get childless rather than be married. Nonetheless, Ruth explored her interests attending college and located writing as her method of expressing herself being an “intellectual radical” as she was sometimes known as by her classmates. Author Walter Pater would be a large affect on her existence during this period as she strove to become like him and live a properly-resided existence. She graduated together with her sister in 1909 having a major in British Literature. Unclear about how to proceed after college, she received an invite to take an exciting-expense compensated tour around Europe with a wealthy trustee from the college. Supported by two women from California that she’d never met, Katherine Norton and Elizabeth Atsatt, she traveled through France, Europe, Italia, Germany, and England for just one year, getting the chance of numerous home stays through the trip.
Within the next couple of years, Ruth required up a variety of jobs. First she attempted compensated social work with the Charitable organization Organization Society and then she recognized employment like a teacher in the Westlake School for Women in La, California. While working there she acquired her curiosity about Asia that will later affect her selection of fieldwork like a working anthropologist. However, she was unhappy with this particular job too and, after twelve months, left to educate British in Pasadena in the Orton School for Women. These years were difficult, and she or he endured from depression and severe loneliness. However, through studying authors like Wally Whitman and Jefferies that stressed a worth, importance and enthusiasm for existence she held onto expect a much better future.
The summer time after her newbie teaching in the Orton School she came back the place to find the Shattucks’ farm to spend time in thought and peace. There Stanley Rossiter Benedict, an engineer at Cornell Medical College, started to go to her in the farm. She’d met him by accident in Zoysia, New You are able to around 1910. That summer time Ruth fell crazy about Stanley because he started to go to her more, and recognized his proposal for marriage. Invigorated by love, she began several writing projects to keep busy aside from the everyday house work chores in her own new existence with Stanley. She started to write poems under different pseudonyms—Ruth Stanhope, Edgar Stanhope, and Anne Singleton. She also started focus on writing a biography about Mary Wollstonecraft along with other less popular ladies she felt deserved more acknowledgement for his or her work and contributions. By 1918 the pair started to drift apart. Stanley endured an injuries that made him wish to take more time from the city, and Benedict wasn’t happy once the couple gone to live in Bedford Hillsides far from the city.
In her own look for a career, she made the decision to go to some lectures in the New School for Social Research while searching into the potential of just as one educational philosopher. While in the school, she required a category known as “Sex in Ethnology” trained by Elsie Clews Parsons. She enjoyed the category and required another anthropology course with Alexander Goldenweiser, students of noted anthropologist Franz Boas. With Goldenweiser as her teacher, Ruth’s passion for anthropology continuously increased. As near friend Margaret Mead described, “Anthropology made the very first ‘sense’ that any purchased method of existence had available to Ruth Benedict”. We have spent with Goldenweiser for any year, he sent her to operate like a graduate student with Franz Boas at Columbia College in 1921. She created a close friendship with Boas, who required on the role as a type of father estimate her life – Benedict lovingly known him as “Papa Franz”.
Boas gave her graduate credit for that courses that they had completed in the New School for Social Research. Benedict authored her dissertation “The idea of the Protector Spirit in The United States”, and received the PhD in anthropology in 1923. Benedict also began a friendship with Edward Sapir who encouraged her to carry on study regarding the relations between individual creativeness and cultural patterns. Sapir and Benedict shared a desire for poetry, and browse and critiqued each other peoples work, both submitting towards the same publishers and both denial. Additionally they were both thinking about psychology and also the relation between individual personalities and cultural patterns, as well as in their correspondences they often times psychoanalyzed one another. However, Sapir demonstrated little understanding for Benedict’s private ideas and feelings. Particularly, his conservative gender ideology jarred with Benedict’s struggle for emancipation. When they were very close buddies for some time, it had been ultimately the variations in worldview and personality that brought their friendship to strand.
Benedict trained her first anthropology course at Barnard college in 1922 using one of the scholars there is Margaret Mead. Benedict would be a significant affect on Mead.
Boas considered Benedict being an focal point in the anthropology department, as well as in 1931 he hired her as Assistant Professor in Anthropology, something impossible until her divorce from Stanley Benedict that very same year.
One student who felt especially keen on Ruth Benedict was Ruth Landes. Letters that Landes delivered to Benedict condition that they was enthralled through the means by which Benedict trained her classes along with the method in which she forced the scholars to consider within an unconventional way.
When Boas upon the market in 1937, the majority of his students considered Ruth Benedict is the apparent option for the mind from the anthropology department. However, the administration of Columbia wasn’t as progressive in the attitude towards female professionals as Boas have been, and also the college President Nicholas Murray Butler was wanting to curb the influence from the Boasians whom he regarded as political radicals. Rather, Rob Linton, certainly one of Boas’s former students, a The First World War veteran along with a fierce critic of Benedict’s “Culture and Personality” approach, was named mind from the department. Benedict was understandably insulted by Linton’s appointment and also the Columbia department was divided backward and forward rival figures of Linton and Benedict, both accomplished anthropologists with influential publications, neither who ever pointed out the job from the other.
Margaret Mead and Ruth Benedict are regarded as two of the most influential and famous anthropologists of time. A primary reason Mead and Benedict got along well was simply because they both shared a love for the work they do plus they each felt a feeling of pride at as being a effective working lady during a period when it was uncommon. These were recognized to critique each other peoples work frequently they produced a companionship that started through the work they do, but that also noisy . period was of the erotic character. Both Benedict and Mead desired to dislodge stereotypes about women throughout their period of time and reveal that working women could be effective despite the fact that working society was seen as an man’s world. In her own memoir about her parents, Having a Daughter’s Eye, Margaret Mead’s daughter signifies that the connection between Benedict and Mead was partially sexual. In 1946, Benedict received the Achievement Award in the American Association of College Women. After Benedict died of cardiac arrest in 1948, Mead stored the legacy of Benedict’s work going through supervising projects that Benedict might have cared for, and editing and publishing notes from studies that Benedict had collected throughout her existence.
Before The Second World War started, Benedict was giving lectures in the Bryn Mawr College for that Anna Howard Shaw Memorial Lectureship. These lectures were focused around the thought of synergy. Yet, World war 2 made her concentrate on other parts of power of anthropology and also the lectures weren’t presented within their whole. Following the war was over, she centered on finishing her book The Chrysanthemum and also the Sword. Her original notes for that synergy lecture weren’t found after her dying. She was elected another from the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1947. She ongoing her teaching following the war, evolving towards the rank of full professor 3 several weeks before her dying, in New You are able to on September 17, 1948.
Benedict’s Patterns of Culture (1934) was converted into 14 languages and it was printed in lots of editions as standard studying for anthropology courses in American universities for a long time.
The fundamental idea in Patterns of Culture is, based on the foreword by Margaret Mead, “her look at human cultures as ‘personality writ large.'” As Benedict authored for the reason that book, “A culture, as an individual, is really a pretty much consistent pattern of thought and action” (46). Each culture, she held, chooses from “the truly amazing arc of human potentialities” merely a couple of characteristics which end up being the leading character traits from the persons residing in that culture. These traits comprise an interdependent constellation of appearance and values in every culture which together equal to a distinctive gestalt.
For instance, she described the focus on restraint in Pueblo cultures from the American southwest, and also the focus on abandon within the Native American cultures from the Great Plains. She used the Nietzschean opposites of “Apollonian” and “Dionysian” because the stimulus on her considered these Native American cultures. She describes how, in ancient A holiday in greece, the worshipers of Apollo emphasized order and calm within their celebrations.
In comparison, the worshipers of Dionysus, the god of wine, emphasized wildness, abandon, releasing, as did Indigenous Peoples. She described at length the contrasts between rituals, beliefs, requirements among people of diverse cultures to exhibit how each culture were built with a “personality” which was encouraged in every individual.
Other anthropologists from the culture and personality school also developed these ideas, particularly Margaret Mead in her own Transitional phase in Samoa (printed before “Patterns of Culture”) and Sex and Temperament in Three Primitive Societies (printed soon after Benedict’s book arrived on the scene). Benedict would be a senior student of Franz Boas when Mead started to review together, plus they had extensive and reciprocal affect on each other peoples work. Abram Kardiner seemed to be impacted by these ideas, as well as in time, the idea of “modal personality” was created: the cluster of traits most generally regarded as noticed in people associated with a given culture.
Benedict, in Patterns of Culture, expresses her belief in cultural relativism. She preferred to exhibit that every culture features its own moral imperatives that may be understood only when one studies that culture in general. It had been wrong, she felt, to disparage the customs or values of the culture not the same as a person’s own. Individuals customs were built with a meaning to folks who resided them which shouldn’t be ignored or trivialized. We ought to not test to judge people by our standards alone. Morality, she contended, was in accordance with the from the culture by which one operated.As she described the Kwakiutl from the Off-shore Northwest (in line with the fieldwork of her mentor Boas), the Pueblo of Boise State Broncos (among whom she’d direct experience), the nations from the Great Plains, the Dobu culture of recent Guinea (regarding whom she relied upon Mead and Reo Fortune’s fieldwork), she gave evidence their values, even where they might appear strange, are intelligible when it comes to their very own coherent cultural systems and really should be understood and revered. This created a main argument in her own later focus on japan following The Second World War.
Critics have objected as far as of abstraction and generalization natural within the “culture and personality” approach. Some have contended that specific patterns she found might be merely a part or perhaps a subset from the whole cultures. For instance, David Friend Aberle writes the Pueblo people might be calm, gentle, and far provided to ritual while in one mood or group of conditions, but they might be suspicious, retaliatory, and warlike in other conditions.
In 1936, she was hired an affiliate professor at Columbia College. However, at that time, Benedict had already aided within the training and guidance of countless Columbia students of anthropology including Margaret Mead and Ruth Landes.
Benedict was one of the leading cultural anthropologists who have been employed by the federal government for war-related research and consultation following the US entry into The Second World War.
Certainly one of Benedict’s less popular works would be a pamphlet “The Races of Mankind” which she authored together with her friend in the Columbia College Department of Anthropology, Gene Weltfish. This pamphlet was meant for American troops and hang forth, in simple language with cartoon illustrations, the scientific situation against racist beliefs.
“The planet is shrinking,” begin Benedict and Weltfish. “Thirty-four nations are actually u . s . inside a common cause—victory over Axis aggression, the military destruction of fascism” (p. 1).
The nations u . s . against fascism, they continue, include “probably the most different physical kinds of men.”
And also the authors explicate, in section after section, the very best evidence they understood for human equality. They would like to encourage all these kinds of individuals to join together and never fight among themselves. “[A]ll the peoples of the world”, they explain, “really are a single family and also have a common origin.” Everyone has so many teeth, a lot of molars, so many little bones and muscles—so we are able to have only originate from some ancestors regardless of what our color, the form in our mind, the feel in our hair. “The races of mankind are exactly what the Bible states they are—brothers. Within their physiques may be the record of the brotherhood.”
Benedict is famous not just on her earlier Patterns of Culture but in addition for her later book The Chrysanthemum and also the Sword, study regarding the society and culture of Japan that they printed in 1946, incorporating outcomes of her war-time research.
This book is a clear case of Anthropology far away. Study of the culture through its literature, through newspaper clippings, through films and tracks, etc., was necessary when anthropologists aided the U . s . States and it is allies in The Second World War. Not able to go to Nazi Germany or Japan under Hirohito, anthropologists utilized the cultural materials to create studies far away. These were trying to comprehend the cultural patterns that could be driving their aggression, and wished to locate possible weaknesses, or way of persuasion that were missed.
Benedict’s war work incorporated a significant study, largely finished in 1944, targeted at understanding Japanese culture. Americans found themselves not able to understand matters in Japanese culture. For example, Americans considered it quite natural for American prisoners of war to wish their own families to understand these were alive, and also to keep quiet when requested for details about troop movements, etc., while Japanese POWs, apparently, gave information freely and didn’t contact their own families. Why was that? Why, too, did Asian peoples neither treat japan his or her liberators from Western colonialism, nor accept their very own supposedly just devote a hierarchy which had Japanese at the very top?
Benedict performed a significant role in grasping the area from the Emperor of Japan in Japanese popular culture, and formulating the recommendations to President Franklin D. Roosevelt that permitting continuation from the Emperor’s reign needed to be area of the eventual surrender offer.
Other Japanese who’ve look at this work, based on Margaret Mead, thought it was overall accurate but somewhat “moralistic”. Parts of it were pointed out in Takeo Doi’s book, The Anatomy of Dependence, though Doi is extremely critical of Benedict’s indisputable fact that Japan includes a ‘shame’ culture, whose emphasis is about how a person’s moral conduct seems to outsiders in contradistinction to America’s (Christian) ‘guilt’ culture, where the emphasis is on individual’s internal conscience. Doi mentioned this claim clearly implies the previous value product is inferior towards the latter one.
A U.S. 46¢ Great Americans series postage stamp in her own recognition was issued on October 20, 1995.
Benedict College in Stony Brook College continues to be named after her.
In 2005 Ruth Fulton Benedict was awarded with a National Women’s Hall of Fame.