Baterson, Mary Catherine

Bateson, Mary Catherine, 1939-2021, American linguist and anthropologist, b. New York City, grad. Radcliffe (BA,1960), Harvard (Ph.D., 1963). The daughter of Margaret Mead and Gregory Bateson, both celebrated anthropologists, she enrolled at Radcliffe College, completing her BA in two-and-a-half years, and subsequently earned a Ph.D. from Harvard in linguistics focusing on Middle East languages. Bateson married fellow Harvard student, J. Barkev Kassarjian, and the couple spent several years living in the Philippines and Iran, leaving that country in the wake of its revolution in the late ‘70s. In the 1980s, she turned to writing about women’s lives, and is best known for her book, Composing A Life (1989), based on her own and four of her contemporaries’ experiences of sexism, racism, ageism, and challenges as women working in academia. This led to subsequent studies on human creativity and development. Bateson held several academic positions at Harvard, Brandeis, Spelman, Amherst, and George Mason Univ., where at the time of her passing she was professor emeritus of English and anthropology.

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