Elsie Clews Parsons: Inventing Modern Life (Women in Culture and Society)

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9780226139074: Elsie Clews Parsons: Inventing Modern Life (Women in Culture and Society)
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Elsie Clews Parsons was a pioneering feminist, an eminent anthropologist, and an ardent social critic. In Elsie Clews Parsons, Desley Deacon reconstructs Parsons's efforts to overcome gender biases in both academia and society.

"Wonderfully illuminating. . . . Parsons's work resonates strikingly to current trends in anthropology."—George W. Stocking, Jr., Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute

"This is the biography of a woman so interesting and effective—a cross between Margaret Mead and Georgia O'Keeffe. . . . A nuanced portrait of this vivid woman."—Tanya Luhrmann, New York Times Book Review

"A marvelous new book about the life of Elsie Clews Parsons. . . . It's as though she is sitting on the next rock, a contemporary struggling with the same issues that confront women today: how to combine work, love and child-rearing into one life."—Abigail Trafford, Washington Post

"Parsons's splendid life and work continue to illuminate current puzzles about acculturation and diversity."—New Yorker

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Elsie Clews Parsons (1874-1941) was a pioneering anthropologist whose writings on the Pueblo Indians challenged American notions about racial and cultural purity. She was also a committed feminist whose unconventional marriage survived many infidelities and included an agreement to share childcare. In short, she was one of those remarkable individuals who live entirely by their own code and publicly urge society to grant everyone the same freedom they have seized for themselves. Vigorous prose and impeccable research distinguish this enthralling narrative of a thoroughly modern woman whose fierce independence seems only to have augmented her enormous charm.

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Elsie Clews Parsons was a relentlessly modern woman. A pioneering feminist, an eminent anthropologist, an ardent social critic, she challenged Americans to develop flexible and dynamic gender, family, and social arrangements that fit the new century. From 1912, when she incorporated ethnographic data on upper-class New York into a series of tersely ironic books and articles, Parsons brought to anthropology a passionate desire to educate the public to accept and welcome sexual and social diversity. Desley Deacon's vibrant and richly detailed biography examines the powerful connections linking Parsons's intellectual commitments to her extraordinary life experience. A wealth of correspondence and memoirs allows Deacon to vividly reconstruct Parsons's unconventional marriage, her intimate friendships, her ties to a burgeoning avant-garde, her wide-ranging travels, and her bitter attempts to escape the stifling conventions of New York's social elite - in short, all of her efforts to overcome gender biases in both academia and society. There is an immediacy to Parsons's struggles, a context to her modernism, and an urgency to her message. Her remarkable intensity compelled her to redefine the social and sexual values of her day, to explore gender roles in other cultural settings, and to thoroughly detonate, through word and deed, entrenched nineteenth-century conceptions of women, civilization, and morality. In Elsie Clews Parsons, Deacon has fashioned a deeply insightful portrayal of an uncommon woman with the uncommon courage to radically reconstruct sexual identity, for herself and for the modern age.

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Book Description The University of Chicago Press, United States, 1997. Hardback. Condition: New. 2nd ed.. Language: English. Brand new Book. Elsie Clews Parsons was a pioneering feminist, eminent anthropologist and ardent social critic; she challenged Americans to develop flexible and dynamic gender, family and social arrangements that would fit the 20th century. From 1912, she incorporated ethnographic data on upper-class New York into a series of books and articles, she brought to anthropology a desire to educate the public to accept and welcome sexual and social diversity. This biography examines the powerful connections linking Parsons' intellectual commitments to her life experience. Desley Deacon uses correspondence and memoirs to reconstruct Parsons' unconventional marriage, her intimate friendships, her ties to a burgeoning avant-garde, her bitter attempts to escape the stifling conventions of New York's social elite - in short all of her efforts to overcome gender biases in both academia and society. Seller Inventory # BTE9780226139074

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