Mary Catherine Bateson is a writer and cultural anthropologist.
Deborah Tannen has called Mary Catherine Bateson “one of the most original and important thinkers of our time.” Grove Press is pleased to reissue Bateson’s deeply satisfying treatise on the improvisational lives of five extraordinary women.
Mary is the author of Composing A Life (first published in 1991 and still in print), an exuberant exploration of a new stage of the life cycle — “Adulthood II” — created by unprecedented levels of health, energy, time, and resources – of which we have barely begun to be fully conscious.
Mary Catherine Bateson sees aging today as an “improvisational art form calling for imagination and willingness to learn,” and in this ardent, affirming study, she relates the experiences of men and women — herself included — who, entering this second adulthood, have found new meaning and new ways to contribute, composing their lives in new patterns.
She has written and co-authored many books and articles, lectures across the country and abroad, and has taught at Harvard, Northeastern University, Amherst College, Spelman College and abroad in the Philippines and in Iran. In 2004 she retired from her position as Clarence J. Robinson Professor in Anthropology and English at George Mason University, and is now Professor Emerita. Since the Fall of 2006 she has been a Visiting Scholar at the Sloan Center on Aging and Work at Boston College.
She has served on multiple advisory boards including that of the National Center on Atmospheric Research, dealing with climate change.
During the past few years Mary Katherine Bateson has completed two projects:
Composing a Further Life: The Age of Active Wisdom, published by Knopf in September, 2010, on the contributions and improvisations of engaged older adults, written to raise consciousness of the changing life cycle and to encourage older adults to claim a voice for the future. This project continues to lead to further exploration of intergenerational communication and changing ways of experiencing time, and involved her as a special consultant to the Lifelong Access Libraries Initiative of the Libraries for the Future, with an emphasis on conceptualization, testing and implementation of her Active Wisdom model for community dialogues as a signature program of the Initiative.
She was a founder in 2004 of GrannyVoter, now a program of Generations United, where she is developing ongoing efforts to involve seniors in efforts on behalf of children and future generations, as national co-chair of Seniors4kids.