“I gambled on having the strength to live two lives, one for myself and one for the world.”
Ruth Fulton Benedict (1887–1948)
Benedict helped lay the foundation of modern anthropology. Building on the work of Franz Boas in exploring the relationship of individuals to their cultures, her fieldwork among Native Americans and her studies of contemporary European and Asian cultures led her to emphasize concepts of cultural configuration, national character, and the relationship between individual personality and culture. Her highly influential books, including Patterns of Culture (1934) and The Chrysanthemum and the Sword: Patterns of Japanese Culture (1946), popularized the anthropological concept of culture even as they attacked racism and ethnocentrism.