Landes, Ruth

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LANDES, RUTH (1908–1991), U.S. cultural anthropologist. Born in New York City to Russian Jewish immigrants, Landes did her undergraduate studies in sociology at New York University. She received an M.A. in social work and a Ph.D. in anthropology from Columbia University. She became research director and coordinator of the Inter-American and the President's Fair Employment Practices Commission, 1941–45; study director of the scientific research department of the American Jewish Committee, 1948–51; and director of the Los Angeles City Health Department's geriatric program (1958–59). From 1953 to 1955 she lectured at the New School for Social Research and the William W. White Psychiatric Institute (1953–54), and from 1956 was professor of anthropology at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario (Canada). Her social research experience included service as researcher on the Carnegie Corporation study project on American blacks. As a pioneer in the study of class, race, and gender relations, her primary interests in anthropological research were the American Indians; minority groups in the U.S., Brazil, and the United Kingdom; the educational and cultural status of women; and the interrelations of culture and personality.

In 1982 McMaster University established the Ruth Landes Prize for outstanding academic achievement in anthropology. The Research Institute for the Study of Man established, through the aid of Landes, the rism-Landes Awards for field research on such anthropological subjects as race and ethnic relations, gender issues, education in a comparative perspective, and problems of aging.

Books by Landes include The Ojibwa Woman (1938, 1971, 1997); The City of Women (1947, 1994); Culture in American Education (1965, 19672); Latin Americans of the Southwest (1965); The Mystic Lake Sioux (1968); Ojibwa Religion and the Midewiwin (1968); and The Prairie Potawatomi (1970).


S. Cole, Ruth Landes: A Life in Anthropology (2003).

[Ephraim Fischoff /

Ruth Beloff (2nd ed.)]