Yale Professor Wins Margaret Mead Award
Kathryn Marie Dudley, associate professor of American Studies and anthropology at Yale University, has been named the winner of the 2000-2001 Margaret Mead Award, presented annually by the Society for Applied Anthropology and the American Anthropological Association.
The award is given to a younger scholar for work that extends the impact of anthropology to the general public-a skill for which Mead was widely admired. The award will be presented at the joint annual meeting of the two associations in the spring.
The Margaret Mead Award recognizes Dudley’s first book, “The End of the Line: Lost Jobs, New Lives in Postindustrial America” (Chicago 1994), in which she examines the social and economic impact of the closing of an auto plant in the Midwest. The book discusses economic restructuring in a way that is accessible both to anthropologists and a broad readership of labor historians, union leaders, rural activists and the general public. “The End of the Line” has won both the Harry Chapin Media Award for Best Book and the Wisconsin Library Association Literary Award.
Dudley has taken on a leadership role within the American Anthropological Association to help direct the study of American culture in the years ahead. She edited “Anthropology and Middle Class Working Families: A Future Research Agenda” with Mary Margaret Overby.
In her new book, “Debt and Dispossession: Farm Loss in America’s Heartland” (Chicago 2000), Dudley examines the farm crisis of the 1980s. She chronicles the experience of financial failure in a culture that extols independent business management, competitive production and self-sufficiency. In her analysis, farming is emblematic of the spirit of enterprise that animates a market-oriented society. She asks what it takes to be middle class in America, and what kind of community is possible in a competitive capitalist society.
Dudley received her Ph.D. from Columbia in 1991, where she taught prior to joining the Yale faculty in 1993. She has lectured widely and been interviewed on National Public Radio’s “Morning Edition.”
Mead (1901-1978), for whom the award is named, was a pioneering anthropologist and author of “Coming of Age in Samoa,” “Culture and Commitment” and “Sex and Temperament in Three Primitive Societies,” among others.