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

HALE 447

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Paul Shankman is a cultural anthropologist who specializes in Samoa, economic anthropology, political anthropology, theory, and Margaret Mead. 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 few decades, he has been involved in the Mead-Freeman controversy, written a number of articles on it,  and authored a book titled The Trashing of Margaret Mead: Anatomy of and Anthropological Controversy (2009). He has also authored a recent biography of Mead simply titled Margaret Mead (2021). Shankman is featured in a BBC documentary on the Mead-Freeman controversy (Tales from the Jungle: Margaret Mead) available on YouTube and in the recent Sapiens podcast series on Margaret Mead. He also teaches a course on the Holocaust.

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