Paul Shankman
(Ph.D. • Harvard • 1973)


Office Hours
by appointment

Paul Shankman is a cultural anthropologist who specializes in Samoa, Polynesia, ecological anthropology, political anthropology, and theory. He received his Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1973 and has been a faculty member at the University of Colorado-Boulder since then. He has conducted fieldwork in Samoa since 1966 and has also worked with Pacific Islanders in the United States. For the past sixteen years, he has been involved in the Mead-Freeman controversy and has written a number of articles on it. His book on the controversy, The Trashing of Margaret Mead, was published in 2009 by the University of Wisconsin Press. Shankman is featured in a BBC documentary on the controversy (Tales from the Jungle: Margaret Mead) available on YouTube. Because he will be retiring soon, he is no longer accepting new graduate students.

Selected Publications:

  • 2013. The “Fateful Hoaxing” of Margaret Mead: A Cautionary Tale. Current Anthropology 54 (1): 51-70. PDF
  • 2009. The Trashing of Margaret Mead: Anatomy of an Anthropological Controversy. University of Wisconsin Press.
  • 2009.  Margaret Mead and Derek Freeman: What Did He Know and When Did He Know It? Pacific Studies 32 (2-3): 202-221. PDF
  • 2006. Virginity and Veracity: Re-reading Historical Sources in the Mead-Freeman Controversy. Ethnohistory  53 (3):478-505. PDF
  • 2005. Margaret Mead’s Other Samoa: Re-reading Social Organization of Manu’a. Pacific Studies 28 (3/4):46-59. PDF
  • 2004. South Seas Confidential: The Politics of Interethnic Relationships in Colonial Samoa. In Victoria Lockwood, editor, Globalization and Culture Change in the Pacific Islands. Upper Saddle River: NJ, Pearson Prentice Hall. pp. 377-89. PDF
  • 2001. Interethnic Unions and the Regulation of Sex in Colonial Samoa,1830-1945.  Journal of the Polynesian Society 110 (2):119-147. PDF
  • 2000. Culture, Biology and Evolution: The Mead-Freeman Controversy Revisited. Journal of Youth and Adolescence 29(5): 539-556. PDF
  • 2000. “The “Exotic” and the “Domestic”: Regions and Representation in Cultural Anthropology.”  Human Organization 50(3):289-299, (first author with Tracy B. Ehlers). PDF
  • 1999. Development, Sustainability, and the Deforestation of Samoa.  Pacific Studies 22(3&4):167-188. PDF
  • 1996. The History of Sexual Conduct in Samoa and the Mead/Freeman Controversy.  American Anthropologist 98(3): 555-567. PDF
  • 1991. Culture Contact, Cultural Ecology, and Dani Warfare. Man 26(2): 299-321. PDF