January 13, 2006
An Australian historian puts Margaret Mead's biggest detractor on the psychoanalytic sofa
Just how far should scholars go in debunking intellectual opponents? Is persistence, to the point of ignoring one's own pursuits, a sign of mental instability?
The case of Derek Freeman, the contentious Australian anthropologist who died in 2001 at the age of 84, raises both questions. For decades he relentlessly dissected and attacked the work of the noted anthropologist Margaret Mead, who