International Encyclopaedia
of the Histories of Anthropology

American anthropologist Ruth Landes (1908-1991), a disciple of Franz Boas and Ruth Benedict, did ethnographic fieldwork in Brazil from 1938 to 1939 and contributed to the development of Afro-American Studies and Feminist Anthropology. Her work on gender and sexuality in the Candomblé religion presented its iconic leaders and temples through a dynamic narrative ethnography (The City of Women, 1947). Her close collaboration with Brazilian colleague Edison Carneiro granted her privileged access to research sites and subjects, producing an invaluable historical record of Candomblé. Landes’ research approach and relationships in the field were considered scandalous by prominent male colleagues, who negatively impacted her career opportunities in the United States. Nevertheless, her legacy remains strong in Brazil.

Keywords: Cultural anthropology | Feminist anthropology | Culturalism | Cultural anthropologist | Brazil | United States of America | Amerindian studies | Afro-brazilian Religions | Ojibwa/Ojibwe | Race | Gender | Candomblé | Race relations | Feminism | Franz Boas | Ruth Benedict | Melville Herskovits | Edison Carneiro

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