Mary Catherine Bateson

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Mary Catherine Bateson
Mary Catherine Bateson-2Nov2004.jpg
At a conference on climate disruption in 2004
Born(1939-12-08)December 8, 1939
New York City, New York
DiedJanuary 2, 2021(2021-01-02) (aged 81)
EducationBrearley School (1957)
Radcliffe College, B.A. (1960)
Harvard University, Ph.D. (1963)
OccupationCultural anthropologist
J. Barkev Kassarjian
(m. 1960)
Parent(s)Gregory Bateson
Margaret Mead
RelativesJeremy Steig (cousin)
William Steig (uncle)
Leo Rosten (uncle)

Mary Catherine Bateson (December 8, 1939 – January 2, 2021) was an American writer and cultural anthropologist.

The daughter of Margaret Mead and Gregory Bateson,[1] Bateson was a noted author in her field with many published monographs. Among her books was With a Daughter's Eye: A Memoir of Margaret Mead and Gregory Bateson, a recounting of her upbringing by two famous parents. She taught at Harvard, Amherst, and George Mason University, among others. Bateson was a fellow of the International Leadership Forum and was president of the Institute for Intercultural Studies in New York until 2010.[2]

Early life and education[edit]

Bateson was a graduate of the Brearley School and received her B.A. from Radcliffe in 1960 and her Ph.D. in linguistics and Middle Eastern Studies from Harvard in 1963. Her dissertation examined linguistic patterns in pre-Islamic Arabic poetry.[3]

Personal life[edit]

Bateson was married to Barkev Kassarjian, a professor of management at Babson College, from 1960 until her death. They had one daughter, Sevanne Margaret (born 1969), an actress who works professionally under the name Sevanne Martin,[4] and two grandsons. Through her mother's side of the family, Bateson was also the cousin of Jeremy Steig[1] as well as a niece of William Steig and Leo Rosten.[5]

Bateson died on January 2, 2021 in hospice near her home in Lebanon, New Hampshire, age 81.[6] She had suffered from brain damage caused by a fall a few months earlier.[6]


  • Thinking Race: Social Myths and Biological Realities (2019) with Richard Goldsby
  • Composing a Further Life: The Age of Active Wisdom (2010)
  • Willing to Learn: Passages of Personal Discovery (2004)
  • Full Circles, Overlapping Lives: Culture and Generation in Transition (2000)
  • Peripheral Visions - Learning Along the Way (1994)
  • Composing a Life (1991)
  • Thinking AIDS (1988) with Richard Goldsby
  • Angels Fear: Towards an Epistemology of the Sacred (1987) written with Gregory Bateson
  • With a Daughter's Eye: A Memoir of Margaret Mead and Gregory Bateson (1984)
  • At Home in Iran (1974)
  • Our Own Metaphor: A Personal Account of a Conference on the Effects of Conscious Purpose on Human Adaptation (1972)
  • Arabic Language Handbook (1967)


  1. ^ a b Brinthaupt, Thomas M.; Lipka, Richard P. (21 February 2002). Understanding Early Adolescent Self and Identity. ISBN 9780791453346. Retrieved 24 November 2014.
  2. ^ "NYTimes". Retrieved 2020-03-19.
  3. ^ Kassarjian, Mary Catherine (1963). A Study of Linguistic Patterning in Pre-Islamic Arabic Poetry. ISBN 9798643145431. Retrieved 3 January 2021.
  4. ^ Sevanne Kassarjian at IMDb
  5. ^ Banner, Lois W. (15 December 2010). Intertwined Lives. ISBN 9780307773401. Retrieved 24 November 2014.
  6. ^ a b Green, Penelope (January 14, 2021). "Mary Catherine Bateson Dies at 81; Anthropologist on Lives of Women". The New York Times.

External links[edit]