Our Mothers Ourselves With Katie Hafner: Sherry Turkle's Homage to Her Mother


This week, Katie speaks with MIT social scientist Sherry Turkle about her charismatic and vibrant mother, Harriet.

Born and raised in Brooklyn, Harriet, a spirited woman, longed for a husband and family. Her first marriage, however, did not work out. Her in-laws did not approve of her non-Kosher lifestyle and her husband had started performing Skinnerian-like experiments on their infant daughter Sherry. Harriet left him, taking Sherry with her and covering up all traces of her former marriage.

Harriet soon remarried and Sherry grew up with her being told to pretend that he was her biological father. The lies and omissions that surrounded Sherry’s childhood colored her relationship with her mom, leading to anger, and what Sherry describes as an “indirect cruelty” toward her mother.


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To learn more about Sherry and Harriet, read Sherry’s her new book, The Empathy Diaries, A Memoir, which explores her relationship with her mother.


Artwork by Paula Mangin (@PaulaBallah)

Music composed and performed by Andrea Perry

Host: Katie Hafner

Producer: Alice Hudson

Associate Producer: Sophie McNulty

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