TEDWomen 2013: Invented Here

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Mary Catherine Bateson

Center on Aging and Work at Boston College, Visiting Scholar

Mary Catherine Bateson is a writer and cultural anthropologist. She taught at Harvard, Amherst College, George Mason University, Northeastern University and Spelman College. She has lived in the Philippines and Iran.  Bateson’s original research interest was in the Middle East. More recently she has been interested in how women and men work out distinctive ways of adapting to culture change, learning from those around them and improvising new ways of being. This has led her to work with life histories and other types of first person narratives, literary and ethnographic, focusing on learning in contexts of cultural difference.

She has written and coauthored many books and articles, lectures globally, and was president of the Institute for Intercultural Studies in New York City from 1979 to 2009. Her books include early academic work on Arabic linguistics; a memoir of her anthropologist parents Margaret Mead and Gregory Bateson, With a Daughter’s Eye; Composing a Life; Peripheral Visions: Learning Along the Way; and Full Circles, Overlapping Lives: Culture and Generation in Transition.  Her more recent book, Willing to Learn: Passages of Personal Discovery, brings together essays and occasional pieces, written over the course of her career and previously unpublished or unknown. It explores many topics, including contemporary United States and issues of life stages and gender; and belief systems, change, and conflict between cultures, especially in the Middle East. Her latest book, Composing a Further Life: The Age of Active Wisdom (2010), describes a new life stage, Adulthood II, before old age, which is characterized by health, energy, continued learning and spiritual development that builds on years of diverse experience.

She lives in New Hampshire, where she writes, and is a visiting scholar at Boston College’s Center on Aging and Work.


4 Responses to Mary Catherine Bateson

  1. Judith Robinson says:

    Hi Catherine — it was wonderful to meet you (and work with you) when you were in Iran. We live in England now, and your TEDX comments can apply here as well as the USA. I do feel that women can be underconfident about speaking out, and yet perhaps the world is waiting for just that one person to say something for change to happen. I am currently teaching some Bangladeshi women (yes! I am 72 also!) and will share your comments with them. Meanwhile, I’m working on my next-but-one career.
    Love from John, too. Judy

  2. Shulamit Amir says:

    Dear Mis. Batson,
    Concerning your visit in Israel next month, we, your friends from high school in Jerusalem will be happy to meet you.
    Please call me back
    25 November 2012

  3. Courtney says:

    Hi Catherine B,
    I would like to say that ur book called: Millie And The Night Heron is an awesome rated book it got me thinking of a seed for school

    • Shulamit Amir says:

      Dear Mis/ Batson,

      Concerning your visit in Israel next month, we your friends from high school in Jerusalem, will be happy to meet you.
      Please answer me
      25/ November 2012