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Ruth Schlossberg Landes

Ruth Schlossberg Landes made her mark as one of the first professional female anthropologists with her work on gender and religious identity in different cultures. Landes began her career studying the Black Jews of Harlem, though her manuscript was lost to book burnings when her mentor Franz Boas sent it to a German publisher. Undaunted, Landes earned her PhD from Columbia in 1935 under Ruth Benedict, based on fieldwork Landes had done on the Ojibwa of Ontario, sparking five monographs including Ojibwa Sociology in 1937 and The Ojibwa Woman in 1939. She helped pioneer the study of women’s societies as parallel to men’s and crucial to understanding the whole society. Slandered by a letter from male colleagues criticizing her fieldwork methods, Landes was unable to secure a permanent teaching job for twenty years. Instead, she taught on short-term contracts and worked as research director and coordinator of the Inter-American Fair Employment Commission from 1941–1945, study director of scientific research for the American Jewish Committee from 1948–1951, and director of the Los Angeles City Health Department’s geriatric program from 1958–1959. In 1965, however, she joined the faculty of McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, where she continued teaching until her death.

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Date of Birth
October 8, 1908
Place of Birth
New York, New York
Date of Death
February 11, 1991

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Ruth Schlossberg Landes." (Viewed on December 10, 2017) <https://jwa.org/people/landes-ruth>.

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