Photo by Joanna Eldredge Morrissey

Mary Catherine Bateson is a writer and cultural anthropologist living in the Monadnock region of New Hampshire with frequent visits to Cambridge, Massachusetts. 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 & 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 MCB has completed two projects: a book titled 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.

She has also brought to conclusion thirty years as president of the Institute for Intercultural Studies in New York City, dissolving the Institute and arranging for ongoing stewardship of the literary rights of her parents and many of their colleagues (seeFAQ). Her books in print include Composing a Life, Our Own Metaphor, andPeripheral Visions,as well as a memoir, With a Daughter’s Eye: A Memoir of Margaret Mead and Gregory Bateson. In 2011 she gave a series of six public lectures at Boston College, with the title “Love across difference,” which she is now developing into a book, to be published by Farrar, Straus & Giroux.

Born December 8, 1939, New York City.
Married to J. Barkev Kassarjian, 1960.
One child, Sevanne Margaret Kassarjian, born 1969.
Two grandsons, Cyrus James Griffin, born 2002 and Anton Gregory Griffin, born 2006.

Visiting Scholar, Sloan Center on Aging and Work, Boston College.

B.A., Radcliffe, 1960; Ph.D., Harvard, 1963.

Teaching and Research:

  • Harvard University
  • Ateneo de Manila University
  • Brandeis University
  • Northeastern University
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Damavand College (Tehran)
  • Amherst College
  • Spelman College
  • Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Stud
  • The Harvard Graduate School of Education.


  • University of Northern Iran(Dean, Social Sciences and Humanities)
  • Amherst College(Dean of the Faculty)
  • Institute for Intercultural Studies (President)