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Ruth Leah Bunzel

Anthropologist Ruth Leah Bunzel did groundbreaking work on the relationship of artists to their work and on alcoholism in Guatemala and Mexico.The Pueblo Potter, becoming the first ethnographer to analyze how artists felt about traditional styles and the creative process instead of just discussing the objects they created. She later wrote about Zuni religion, poetry, and social organization. She went on to compare alcoholism in two villages in Mexico and Guatemala, looking at both psychological reasons for alcoholism and at economic and political factors, like the haciendas that benefited from keeping Indians subjugated and in debt through alcoholism. Beyond her fieldwork, Bunzel worked for the Office of War Information in New York and London from 1942–1945, and from 1954–1972 she taught at Columbia University. Throughout the 1950s and 1960s, she also worked to stop nuclear proliferation.

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Ruth Bunzel
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Anthropologist Ruth Bunzel.
Date of Birth
April 18, 1898
Place of Birth
New York, New York
Date of Death
January 14, 1990

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Ruth Leah Bunzel." (Viewed on December 16, 2017) <https://jwa.org/people/bunzel-ruth>.

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