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 Featured Title
Women in Anthropology
Autobiographical Narratives and Social History
Maria G. Cattell   Marjorie M. Schweitzer  

$107.95 Hardcover
Release Date: 9/1/2006
ISBN: 9781598740820    

$35.95 Paperback
Release Date: 9/1/2006
ISBN: 9781598740837    

256 Pages

Distributed for Left Coast Press


About the Book

Women in academia have struggled for centuries to establish levels of acceptance and credibility equal to men in the same fields, and anthropology has been no different. The women anthropologists in this book speak frankly about their challenges and successes as they navigated through their personal and professional lives. Riding the changing tides of social and disciplinary history, they struggled through various and sometimes conflicting arenas of life—marriage, raising children, caring for families, publishing, conducting research, going into the field, teaching, and mentoring. They did this during volatile periods in the twentieth century when the roles and expectations for women were being constantly reestablished and repositioned.

For anyone interested in the cultural and demographic shifts that are fundamentally altering opportunities for women in the workplace, Women in Anthropology is a thought provoking and inspirational read. For anthropologists, it is an important and intimate portrait of the realities of professional life.

About the Author(s)

Maria G. Cattell is a research associate at The Field Museum of Natural History. She received her PhD in 1989 from Bryn Mawr College, and after completing a dissertation on aging and gender in rural Kenya, continued her research there for a quarter century. Her many publications include two books, and currently she is writing her spiritual autobiography.

Marjorie M. Schweitzer received her PhD in 1978 from the University of Oklahoma, and wrote her dissertation, The Power and Prestige of the Elderly in Two Indian Communities. In 1986 Marjorie retired as Assistant Professor at Oklahoma State University. Her publications include two books, a bibliography and an edited volume on American Indian grandmothers. She continues to be an advocate for the survival of American Indian culture.

Table of Contents

Introduction by Jay Sokolovsky
Preface by Marjorie M. Schweitzer

1. Voices of Women Anthropologists: Autobiography, Social History and Anthropology, Maria G. Cattell
2. Gender Roles in Sociocultural and Historical Context, Marjorie M. Schweitzer

Section I. Possessed by Anthropology
3. Possessed by Anthropology, Judy Rosenthal

Section II. Changing Roles, Challenging Stereotypes: Women’s Roles in 20th Century America
4. From Academe to Country Politics: Anthropologist as Activist, Eunice Felter Boyer
5. An Anthropological Odyssey: A Midlife Beginning, Marilyn Preheim Rose
6. Born an Anthropologist: From a Housewife with Hobbies to an Anthropologist with a Passion, Cath Oberholtzer
7. Changing Roles, Challenging Irrelevance: My Story as a Re-Entry Woman, Dorothy M. Castille

Section III. The Web of Lives: Family Involvements, Career Interactions
8. On Becoming an Anthropologist, Louana M. Lackey
9. Family Invovlements: Earning a PhD While Raising Children, Molly G. Schuchat
10. Career Constraints and Enhancements: Marriage, Family and Age, Ellen C. Rhoads
11. The “A-G-E” Effects on My Midlife Career in Anthropology, Esther Skirboll

Section IV. Being the Other: Encounters with Difference
12. A Late Bloomer’s Struggles with Discrimination, Ruby Rhorlich
13. My Life Hangs by This Question: What is a Human Being?, Elizabeth Dressel Hoobler
14. Not My Color, Not My Kind: Lessons in Race, Class, Age, and Gender in the Academy, M. Jean Harris
15. Understanding My Life: The Dialectics of Marketing and Anthropology, Barbara Olsen

Section V. Being an Anthropologist, Living Anthropological Lives
16. From Prehistory to Culture History: My Anthropological Journey, Marjorie M. Schweitzer
17. In Pursuit of The Word: My Anthropological Life, Maria Gleaton Cattell
18. A Lens, A Book, and A Compass: My Anthropological Life Tour, Jacqueline Walden

Section VI. Legacies for Future Generations
19. A Time for Excellence, A Legacy for the Future, Jane Stevenson Day
20. Lessons for Today, Marjorie M. Schweitzer


Collectively, these 17 narratives illustrate how anthropology itself is a cultural construction, shaped historically and in the present by larger configurations of gender, race and class that embrace some minds and bodies while leaving others to forge their own paths. Born between 1913 and 1947, many of the scholars represented here took the fast track from high school to college to the status of well-educated young wives and mothers. Time passed productively, yet, as one author explains, “When Betty Freidan wrote about the ‘trapped housewife,’ I recognized myself.” Guided less by institutional mentors than by the idea of anthropology as an intellectual pursuit and practice, they enrolled in doctoral programs where some professors wondered aloud about the length and productivity of a mature student’s career. Turning ageism on its head, these researchers describe the strength and flexibility of working as older women in the field. They also bring unique, diachronic insights to the development of anthropological theory, which some studied first as undergraduates in the 1940s and 1950s.
-- Maria D. Vesperi, New College of Florida

Sample Chapter

A sample chapter of this title is not available at this time. For further information, please email

Related Topics

Women's Studies

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