Ruth Landes: A Life in Anthropology

By Sally Cole | Go to book overview

CHAPTER EIGHT
The Early Ethnography of Race and Gender

So I went to Bahia and I was consciously uneasy for the first time in this exploration through different worlds of ideas. I was uneasy now because I had already learned enough to realize that I had no point of reference, no theory or belief to support or explode. — Ruth Landes, The City of Women

RUTH LANDES completed The City of Women in the spring of 1940 and sent the manuscript out to several trade publishers for review. She was unemployed again after the Carnegie contract ended, and she was depressed about opportunities in anthropology. She hoped that the book might sell commercially and that she might be able to launch a career as a writer. "If the book sells, I'll quit worrying, ” she wrote Benedict (February 13, 1940, RFBP). But later she continued, discouraged: "There are no jobs. I just hate to get out of anthropology. Things look so black for me, I mean, that I can only suppose that I've got to learn a technique of playing the game.... I suppose one's got to be quite pedestrian or quite extraordinary, and I'm neither. It seems so silly and wasteful to equip an eager and intelligent person with something that can't be marketed. And, in the case of anthropology, the "world situation” isn't to blame. I've been trying to get somewhere for several years” (June 11, 1940, RFBP). By August, the manuscript had been returned from four publishers (Little, Brown; Harcourt Brace; Vanguard; and Doubleday), and she sent it out to a fifth, Whittlesey House. "The general feeling, ” she wrote to Benedict, "is that it is 'good but too scholarly' ” (August 19, 1940, RFBP). Whittlesey House also returned the manuscript, and in the summer of 1941 Landes rewrote the entire book.

Landes regarded The City of Women, published finally in 1947, as the high point of her career. For years afterward she tried again to "write a thing of beauty like my City of Women” (Notebook 7,

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Ruth Landes: A Life in Anthropology
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Ruth Landes - A Life in Anthropology *
  • Contents vii
  • List of Illustrations *
  • Series Editors' Introduction *
  • Acknowledgments *
  • Introduction *
  • Part One - Beginnings *
  • Chapter One - Immigrant Daughter *
  • Chapter Two - New Woman *
  • Chapter Three - Student at Columbia *
  • Part Two - Apprenticeship in Native American Worlds *
  • Prologue *
  • Chapter Four - Maggie Wilson and Ojibwa Women's Stories *
  • Chapter Five - Lusty Shamans in the Midwest *
  • Part Three - She-Bull in Brazil's China Closet *
  • Prologue *
  • Chapter Six - Fieldwork in Brazil *
  • Chapter Seven - Writing Afro-Brazilian Culture in New York *
  • Chapter Eight - The Early Ethnography of Race and Gender *
  • Conclusion - Life and Career *
  • Notes *
  • Bibliography *
  • Index *
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