Ruth Landes: A Life in Anthropology

By Sally Cole | Go to book overview

CONCLUSION
Life and Career

A whole library of theorizing can't give half the real conviction that comes from adventuring through the life of one restless, highly endowed woman. — Ruth Benedict in Margaret Mead, An Anthropologist at Work

Evidently, one can't be an individual, even if harmlessly. — Ruth Landes, October 21, 1950, Notebook 1, RLP)

DURING THE YEARS when Landes was trying to find a publisher for The City of Women, she was also trying to find employment. The Carnegie Commission contract was only the beginning of what would be 25 years living an itinerant lifestyle, working as a contract researcher and part-time instructor. On December 12, 1939, a few weeks after the Carnegie contract had ended, she wrote to Benedict: "Can you help me with ideas about future work? A 'position' seems out of the question, so much so that I don't even inquire. I was wondering about another period of work in Brazil—since now I have the language, literature, experience and real interest. I'd like to have another field trip anyway, before I retire; and I probably will have to retire, whatwith age, chronic sinusitis and the feeling that I ought to be doing something about getting a husband and children” (RFBP).

Eight months later, on August 19, 1940, she wrote again about finding employment: "I suppose I might as well come out now with the horrible facts as later. I'm stymied. Everything I touch turns to paralysis. People look at me with open and admiring eyes and say, 'I'm confident that you will be successful', and I am insofar as rousing their 'sympathies' . . . is concerned, but never in re a job. I have displayed wondrous amounts of what you dubbed 'initiative', but 'it really do not matter' as my Fisk brightlings liked to say.” She reported on her efforts to work on the Sioux, Potawatomi, and Ojibwa manuscripts. She wondered if Benedict thought there might be

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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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