- Montagu, Ashley
▪ 2000Israel EhrenbergBritish-American anthropologist, humanist, and writer (b. June 28, 1905, London, Eng.—d. Nov. 26, 1999, Princeton, N.J.), popularized science and presented humanitarian issues on topics as varied as evolution, intelligence, anatomy, marriage, child care, crying, swearing, and John Merrick, the Victorian Englishman whose severe disfigurement led him to become known as the Elephant Man, in more than 60 books. Among his most famous and influential were UNESCO's “Statement on Race,” published as Statement on Race (1951), in which he stated his views that race was not a biological fact but was created socially, derived from people's perceptions about race, and The Natural Superiority of Women (1953; rev. ed., 1991), which presented his assertions regarding women's biological superiority. Montagu, whose name he put together from those of writers he admired, was educated at the Universities of London and Florence and at Columbia University, New York City (Ph.D., 1937), and then taught at a number of institutions. At Rutgers University, New Brunswick, N.J., he served as chairman of the department of anthropology from 1949 until 1955, when the success of The Natural Superiority of Women made it possible for him to resign and pursue his many interests independently. Montagu was also a public personality, especially during the 1950s and '60s, and made many appearances on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson and other talk shows. There he was able to add to the attention his books attracted and place many humanitarian issues before a wider audience and into public debate. In such books as Human Heredity (1959), he stated his views on the interdependence of nature and nurture in human development, and in Touching: The Human Significance of the Skin (1971), he stressed the importance of touch to the nurturing of children. Other works included The Nature of Human Aggression (1976) and Growing Young (1981). An enemy of stereotypes, Montagu was known to take offense at cartoons depicting Neanderthal men as brutish abusers of their women, insisting that they ignored evidence that Neanderthals were essentially gentle.
* * *▪ American anthropologist, writer and humanistin full Montague Francis Ashley Montagu , original name Israel Ehrenbergborn June 28, 1905, London, Eng.died Nov. 26, 1999, Princeton, N.J.British American anthropologist noted for his works popularizing anthropology and science.Montagu studied at the University of London and the University of Florence and received his Ph.D. from Columbia University, New York City, in 1937. He lectured and taught at a number of schools, including Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, where he chaired the department of anthropology from 1949 to 1955. He first attracted public attention as the author of UNESCO's “Statement on Race” (1950), in which he called for ethnic equality, arguing that race is a social invention with no biological basis. He published this and subsequent versions as Statement on Race (1951; rev. ed., 1972). Montagu also wrote on such varied topics as human evolution, culture, and child care, and possibly his most influential work is The Natural Superiority of Women (1953). In 1999 a heavily revised edition of the book was published. His other works include Man's Most Dangerous Myth: The Fallacy of Race (1942; 5th rev. ed., 1974), Touching: The Human Significance of the Skin (1971; 3rd ed., 1986), The Nature of Human Aggression (1976), and Growing Young (1981; 2nd ed., 1989).
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