Mageo, Jeannette Marie
Mageo, Jeannette Marie
Office—Department of Anthropology, Washington State University, P.O. Box 644910, College 150, Pullman, WA 99164-4910. E-mail—[email protected]
Professor and writer. Washington State University, Pullman, WA, professor of cultural anthropology.
American Association of University Women Pacific fellowship, 1990; National Endowment for the Humanities fellowship, 1990-91; research fellowship, University College London, 1995; Centre for Cross-Cultural Research residential fellowship, Australian National University, Canberra, Australia, 2002.
(Editor, with Alan Howard) Spirits in Culture, History, and Mind, Routledge (New York, NY), 1996.
(Editor) Cultural Memory: Reconfiguring History and Identity in the Postcolonial Pacific, University of Hawaii Press (Honolulu, HI), 2001.
(Editor) Power and the Self, Cambridge University Press (Cambridge, England), 2002.
(Editor) Dreaming and the Self: New Perspectives on Subjectivity, Identity, and Emotion, State University of New York Press (Albany, NY), 2003.
Contributor to periodicals, including Studies in Gender and Sexuality, Culture and Psychology, Journal of Anthropological Research, Ethos, American Enthnologist, American Anthropologist, and Man.
Jeannette Marie Mageo is a professor of cultural anthropology who has focused her research in seemingly disparate areas—cultural memory, gender, dreams, spirit possession, sexuality, and historical ethnography. Her career-long interest in Samoan culture, specifically the region's history and cultural identity, has resulted in a number of published studies. Since 1980 Mageo has published books and journal articles focusing on the Samoan interpretation of dreams, the prevalence of transvestism in Samoan society, and the symbolism of Samoan rituals such as hair styling. Her Spirits in Culture, History, and Mind, edited with Alan Howard, is a collection of essays commenting on the belief in spirits and the interpretation of supernatural experiences in various South Pacific islands. Contemporary Pacific contributor John Barker wrote: "The rich chapters in this collection offer the reader much to ponder. The editors are to be commended for holding writers to central themes and for laying out these themes clearly in the overview chapters. Different as the approaches and people are, the chapters read very well together. Read individually, they provide a model of historically sensitive ethnographic writing. Covering familiar ground, the authors also provide a nuanced portrait of changing attitudes toward spirits in several not untypical settings—a topic that is only beginning to receive attention in anthropology and religious studies."
In Theorizing Self in Samoa: Emotions, Genders, and Sexualities, Mageo discusses how an isolated culture such as that of the Samoans develops and maintains (or fails to maintain) a sense of identity following increased contact with Westerners. In a review for the Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, Margaret Taylor commented: "Theorizing Self is a credit to the author, an immensely painstaking work which rejects the Western dichotomies of individual/society, public/private, in favour of a social continuum of ego-centric to socio-centric cultures, all of which privilege different aspects of human experience…. Mageo's contribution to a developing cross-cultural theory of the self will be appreciated by all who are interested in psychological anthropology and by all who specialize in the Pacific."
Cultural Memory: Reconfiguring History and Identity in the Postcolonial Pacific is another collection of essays on South Pacific culture, this time centering on how a society "remembers" their own culture and traditions. Grant McCall described the book in a Australian Journal of Anthropology review as a "splendid collection." Pacific Affairs contributor Cyril Belshaw maintained that Mageo did a "a valiant and successful job in bringing many cross-disciplinary ideas into focus, identifying the relevance of the individual essays."
Mageo branches out to the field of dream interpretation from an anthropological perspective with Dreaming and the Self: New Perspectives on Subjectivity, Identity, and Emotion. "This is an important book for academics interested in the exploration of dream analysis, the self and sociocultural context," wrote Canadian Review of Sociology and Anthropology reviewer Paul G. Letkemann.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Australian Journal of Anthropology, April, 2002, Grant McCall, review of Cultural Memory: Reconfiguring History and Identity in the Postcolonial Pacific, p. 119.
Canadian Review of Sociology and Anthropology, February, 2004, Paul G. Letkemann, review of Dreaming and the Self: New Perspectives on Subjectivity, Identity, and Emotion, p. 105.
Contemporary Pacific, fall, 1997, John Barker, review of Spirits in Culture, History, and Mind, p. 527.
Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, September, 2003, review of Theorizing Self in Samoa: Emotions, Genders, and Sexualities, p. 587.
Pacific Affairs, spring, 2002, Cyril Belshaw, review of Cultural Memory, p. 151.
Washington State University Department of Anthropology,http://libarts.wsu.edu/anthro/ (March 26, 2007), author profile.