Benedict, Ruth Fulton

Benedict, Ruth Fulton,

1887–1948, American anthropologist, b. New York City, grad. Vassar, 1909, Ph.D. Columbia, 1923. She was a student and later a colleague of Franz BoasBoas, Franz
, 1858–1942, German-American anthropologist, b. Minden, Germany, Ph.D. Univ. of Kiel, 1881. He joined an expedition to Baffin Island in 1883 and initiated his fieldwork with observations of the Central Eskimos.
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 at Columbia, where she taught from 1924. She did fieldwork among Native Americans and studied contemporary European and Asian cultures. Her works emphasize the concepts of cultural configuration, national character, and the role of culture in individual personality formation. Her widely read books helped popularize the concept of cultureculture,
in anthropology, the integrated system of socially acquired values, beliefs, and rules of conduct which delimit the range of accepted behaviors in any given society. Cultural differences distinguish societies from one another.
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 and attacked racism and ethnocentrism. She is the author of Concept of the Guardian Spirit in North America (1923), Patterns of Culture (1934), Zuni Mythology (1935), Race: Science and Politics (rev. ed. 1943), and The Chrysanthemum and the Sword: Patterns of Japanese Culture (1946). A collection of her work and biographical data was edited by Margaret Mead under the title An Anthropologist at Work (1959, repr. 1966).


See biography by M. Mead (1974).

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