The Priscilla Reining papers, 1916-2007, primarily document the professional life of Reining, a social anthropologist and Africanist who worked for the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) from 1974 to 1989. Her area of specialty was sub-Saharan Africa, specializing in desertification, land tenure, land use, kinship, population, fertility, and HIV/AIDS. During the 1970s, she pioneered the use of satellite imagery in conjunction with ethnographic data. She is also known for her ground-breaking research in the late 1980s that showed that uncircumcised men were more susceptible to contracting HIV/AIDS than circumcised men.
The collection contains correspondence, field research, research files, writings, day planners, teaching files, student files,
photographs, maps, sound recordings, and electronic records. Reining's research files, particularly on the Red Lake Ojibwa, the Haya, HIV/AIDS, and satellite imagery, form a significant portion of the collection.
Scope and Contents:
These papers primarily document the professional life of Priscilla Reining. The collection contains correspondence, field research, research files, writings, day planners, teaching files, student files, photographs, maps, sound recordings, and electronic records.
Reining's research files, particularly on the Red Lake Ojibwa, the Haya, HIV/AIDS, and satellite imagery, form a significant portion of the collection. Her consultancy work is also well-represented, as well as her involvement in a large number of professional organizations. The collection also contains a great deal of material relating to her work on different programs and projects at AAAS, including the Committee on Arid Lands, Ethnography of Reproduction Project, and Cultural Factors in Population Programs. Also present in the collection are materials from her time as Urgent Anthropology Program Coordinator at the Smithsonian Institution, her files as an instructor and professor, and her files as a student at University of Chicago. Materials from her personal life can also be found in the collection, such as correspondence and childhood mementos.
The Priscilla Reining papers are organized in 13 series: 1. Correspondence, 1944-2007; 2. Research, 1955-1970; 3. AAAS, 1971-1990; 4. Professional Activities, 5. 1957-2007; Daily Planners and Notebooks, 1960-2002; 6. Writings, 1952-1996; 7. Smithsonian Institution, 1964-1971; 8. University, 1958-1994; 9. Student, 1937-1975; 10. Biographical and Personal Files, 1934-2004; 11. Maps, 1916-1989, undated; 12. Photographs, circa 1950-1987, undated; 13. Electronic records.
Biographical / Historical:
Priscilla Copeland Reining was a social anthropologist and Africanist who worked for the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) from 1974 to 1989. Her area of specialty was sub-Saharan Africa, specializing in desertification, land tenure, land use, kinship, population, fertility, and HIV/AIDS. During the 1970s, she pioneered the use of satellite imagery in conjunction with ethnographic data. She is also known for her ground-breaking research in the late 1980s that showed that uncircumcised men were more susceptible to contracting HIV/AIDS than circumcised men.
Reining was born on March 11, 1923 in Chicago, Illinois. She studied anthropology at University of Chicago, where she earned both her A.B. (1945) and Ph.D. (1967) in anthropology. During her graduate studies, she studied peer group relations among the Ojibwa of the Red Lake Indian Reservation in Minnesota (1947, 1950-51). Her husband, Conrad Reining, accompanied her to the field, an experience that inspired him to also become an anthropologist.
In 1951-53 and 1954-55, Reining conducted fieldwork among the Haya of Bukoba District, Tanganyika (now known as Tanzania) as a Fellow of the East African Institute of Social Research. While research for her dissertation focused on the agrarian system of the Haya, Reining also conducted fertility surveys for the East African Medical Survey, studying the relationship between STDs and fertility in Buhaya and Buganda. During the 1980s, Reining became interested in AIDS when she observed that the Haya were dying from the disease at a much higher rate than neighboring groups. When she learned of a possible link between circumcision and the spread of HIV, she drew a map of circumcision practice among the ethnic groups of Africa and found that uncircumcised men were 86% more likely to contract HIV than circumcised men. These results were published in "The Relationship Between Male Circumcision and HIV Infection in African Populations" (1989), which she coauthored with John Bongaarts, Peter Way, and Francis Conant.
Beginning in the 1970s, Reining began exploring the use of satellite imagery in ethnographic research. In 1973, she used Landsat data to identify individual Mali villages, the first use of satellite data in anthropology (Morán 1990). That same year, as a consultant for USAID, she also used ERTS-1 imagery to estimate carrying capacity in Niger and Upper Volta (now known as Burkino Faso). She continued to apply satellite data in her research throughout her career, including in 1993, when she returned to Tanzania to study the environmental consequence of population growth and HIV/AIDS among the Haya.
In 1974, Reining joined the Office of International Science of AAAS as a research associate. She stayed on to become Project Director for the Cultural Factors in Population Programs and to direct a number of projects under the Committee on Arid Lands. She also served as Project Director of the Ethnography of Reproduction project, for which she conducted fieldwork in Kenya in 1976. In 1990, she left AAAS for an appointment as Courtesy Professor of African Studies at University of Florida.
Prior to working for AAAS, Reining worked at the Smithsonian Institution (1966, 1968-70), during which she was the coordinator for the Urgent Anthropology Program in the now defunct Center for the Study of Man. She also taught at University of Minnesota (1956-59), American University (1959-60), and Howard University (1960-64). In addition, she worked as a consultant for various organizations, including Department of Justice, Peace Corps, International Bank for Reconstruction & Development (IBRD), Food and Agriculture Organization, and Carrying Capacity Network.
Reining was also actively involved in various organizations. She served as Secretary of the AAAS Section H (Anthropology) and was a founding member of the American Anthropological Association (AAA) Task Force on AIDS. She was also a fellow of the African Studies Association, AAA, AAAS, East African Academy, Society for Applied Anthropology, and Washington Academy of Science. In 1990, she was honored with a Distinguished Service Award from AAA.
Reining died of lung cancer at the age of 84 on July 19, 2007.
PR Vita. Series 10. Biographical and Personal Files. Priscilla Reining Papers. National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Institution
Morán, Emilio F. 2000. The Ecosystem Approach in Anthropology: From Concept to Practice. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan. Page 359
Schudel, Matt. 2007. Anthropologist Broke Ground on AIDS, Satellite Mapping. Washington Post, July 29. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/07/28/AR2007072801190.html (accessed December 8, 2011).
1923 -- Born March 11 in Chicago, Illinois
1944 -- Marries Conrad C. Reining
1945 -- Earns A.B. from University of Chicago
1947, 1950-51 -- Conducts field research on the Ojibwa of Red Lake Indian Reservation in Minnesota.
1949 -- Earns A.M. from University of Chicago
1951-1953, 1954-1955 -- Field research on Haya of Tanzania
1967 -- Earns Ph.D. from University of Chicago
1972 -- Returns to Tanzania for IBRD consultancy work
1974 -- Begins working at AAAS as a research associate in the Office of International Science
1975 -- Project Director, AAAS
1976 -- Field research on Kikuyu of Kenya for Ethnography of Reproduction
1986-89 -- Program Director, AAAS
1990 -- Courtesy Professor of African Studies at University of Florida Receives Distinguished Service Award from AAA
1993 -- Field research in Tanzania studying environmental consequences of population growth and HIV/AIDS among the Haya
2007 -- Dies of lung cancer at the age of 84 on July 19
Additional materials at the NAA relating to Priscilla Reining can be found in the papers of Gordon Gibson and John Murra, as well as in the records of the Center for the Study of Man and the records of the Department of Anthropology. Photo Lot 97 contains two Haya photos taken by Reining that are not duplicated in this collection. The papers of her husband, Conrad Reining, are also at the NAA.
The archives of the American Association for the Advancement of Science also holds Reining's papers relating to her work for the organization.
These papers were donated to the National Anthropological Archives by Priscilla Reining's sons, Robert Reining and Conrad Reining, in 2009.
The Priscilla Reining papers are open for research.
Some materials from the East African Medical Survey and Ethnography of Reproduction project contain personal medical history and are thus restricted. Grant applications sent to Reining to review are also restricted as well as her students' grades, and recommendation letters Reining wrote for her students. Electronic records are also restricted.
A small portion of the materials relating to Reining's Haya research, Ethnography of Reproduction project, and IBRD ujamaa research suffered severe mold damage. These materials have been cleaned and may be accessed. The legibility of some of the documents, however, is limited due to water and mold stains. Mold odor is also still present.
The Center for the Study of Man (CSM) was a bureau level division of the Smithsonian Institution. These records were maintained by the Program Coordinator, Samuel L. Stanley, and include correspondence, scholarly papers, transcripts, administrative materials, photgraphs, and audio recordings. The materials relate to conferences and programs in which CSM took part.
Scope and Contents:
The records are mainly those of by Program Coordinator Samuel L. Stanley, the CSM administrative officer, and the Institute for Immigration and Ethnic Studies. Especially well documented are several international CSM-sponsored conferences, including a planning meeting in Cairo in 1972, several pre-session conferences (on cannabis, alcohol, population, and the transmission of culture) at the Ninth International Congress of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences at Chicago in 1973, and a 1974 meeting at Bucharest on the cultural implications of population change. Other records relating to cross-cultural studies include those concerning an abortive attempt to issue a series of monographs and the organization of special task forces concerned with questions of human fertility and the environment. The records also include material about the action anthropology projects with Native Americans with which Stanley was directly concerned. These focused on economic development and include material relating to the coordination of studies of specific tribes carried out with funds from the Economic Development Administration and on Stanley's economic development consulting for the American Indian Policy Review Commission. In addition, there are a few files that Stanley created for general information and material relating to his earlier teaching career.
Although some materials concerning these programs are housekeeping records, many letters, notes, and statements concern policy and procedure. For some conferences, there are scholarly papers and transcripts. Many files, especially those of an informational nature, include considerable amounts of printed and processed material. The collection also contains the papers of Wesley White.
With some CSM programs, Stanley's relationship was apparently formal instead of directly active. There is, for example, little documentation among his records that relates to the CSM's film center and less about the immigration and ethnic studies among his materials. Most material pertinent to these units are among the administrative officer's records.
Please note that the contents of the collection and the language and terminology used reflect the context and culture of the time of its creation. As an historical document, its contents may be at odds with contemporary views and terminology and considered offensive today. The information within this collection does not reflect the views of the Smithsonian Institution or National Anthropological Archives, but is available in its original form to facilitate research.
This collection is arranged in 39 series: (1) Ninth International Congress of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences; (2) Cannabis Project, 1973; (3) Cannabis Conference; (4) International Congress on Cultural Transmission; (5) Alcohol Conference, 1973; (6) Population Project; (7) Cross Cultural Monograph Project; (8) American Indians General; (9) Cairo Conference; (10) Folklife; (11) General Correspondence; (12) American Indian Policy Review Commission; (13) Meetings; (14) Census Materials; (15) EDA Grant; (16) Panajachel Conference; (17) Wes White Papers; (18) National Study of American Indian Education; (19) CA Teaching Cooperative; (20) Washington Conference, April 10-12, 1966 (urgent anthropology); (21) Electronic Data Processing Files; (22) Indian Voices; (23) Current Anthropology; (24) General Anthropology; (25) Action Anthropology / Film Archives; (26) Foxfire; (27) Monographs; (28) Cairo Conference - Anthropology Public Policy/Indians Tourism; (29) Smithsonian Office of Anthropology; (30) Correspondence/Job Applications/Resumes; (31) Indian Draft Reports; (32) Population Conference; (33) 1970 Census 20% Sample of Indian Population by County; (34) Index Cards; (35) Sam Stanley Papers; (36) Research Institute for Immigration and Ethnic Studies; (37) Administrative Officer Records; (38) Miscellaneous Correspondence, Reports, Publications; (39) Sound Recordings
The Center for the Study of Man (CSM) was established on July 1, 1968, as a bureau-level organization of the Smithsonian Institution. Its beginning was preluded by the appointment in 1965 of the Chicago-based anthropologist Sol Tax as special advisor in anthropology to the Secretary of the Smithsonian. Tax was to assist with the reorientation of anthropology at the Smithsonian and cooperation between him and the staff of the Smithsonian Office of Anthropology (now the Department of Anthropology) created several special programs, some of which were transferred to the center upon its inception.
Tax was CSM's first director. Samuel Leonard Stanley, formerly project coordinator for the Office of Anthropology, became the program coordinator for the center and was in charge of day-to-day operations. Priscilla Reining was appointed coordinator for urgent anthropology. In addition to such staff, CSM consisted of an advisory board (sometimes referred to as "members") drawn from the international community of anthropologists.
Essentially, CSM's concern was the application of anthropological knowledge to phenomena conceived as problems that confront mankind as a whole. It aimed to promote and coordinate study of these, mainly through the organization of special programs for meetings of established anthropological groups and by bringing together into special task forces researchers interested in the problems.
CSM also included several special programs. Although each of these had considerable independence, all can be seen as subsumed under its broad and ultimate purposes. Thus, the compilation of a computer-based directory of anthropologists and the compilation of bibliographies of anthropological literature were facilitative efforts.
An Urgent Anthropology Program, originally initiated in the Office of Anthropology following an international conference in Washington, D. C., in 1966, served to gather data essential to the more practical main purposes of the program as well as to produce studies of general anthropological interest. The support given such studies was in the form of small grants to allow field work in cultures that were rapidly changing under the pressure of modernization. Similarly, data were gathered and special studies carried out by the Research Institute on Immigration and Ethnic Studies (RIIES), added to the center in 1974 under the direction of Roy S. Bryce LaPorte, and the National Anthropological Film Center (NAFC), which was opened in 1975 and was incorporated in the center in 1977. An American Indian Program consisted of two parts: first, the compilation of a new multivolume Handbook of North American Indians under the general editorship of William C. Sturtevant was taken over from the Office of Anthropology and second, action anthropology projects were undertaken with various Native American groups.
Another goal of CSM was the establishment of a Museum of Man, which would host exhibits devoted to anthropology and ecology. However, due to internal disagreements over the aims of this museum, the project was never approved and fizzled out entirely in 1980.
CSM was one of several efforts of the Smithsonian to create research units to deal with broad problems of contemporary interest. Their success depended on two contingencies: first, funding would become available once the units were launched and, second, the traditional individualistic research of the Smithsonian staff could be continued or redirected--but somehow incorporated under the broad goals of the new units. When both assumptions proved difficult to realize, the new programs were terminated or limited. Thus, beginning in 1976, the center was slowly phased out.
In that year, Stanley was transferred from the center to the staff of the director of the National Museum of Natural History. In 1978, the Handbook of North American Indians was published, and the Handbook and Urgent Anthropology Programs were transferred to the museum's Department of Anthropology. CSM thus became composed only of RIIES and NAFC. In 1981, NAFC was divided: research, designated the Third World Film Center (or Research Film Center) was placed under one director and remained within CSM, and the archives, designated the Human Studies Film Archives (HSFA), was placed under another and was transferred to the Department of Anthropology. In 1982, HSFA was incorporated as a sibling of the National Anthropological Archives. The Third World Film Center was phased out in 1983.
Link, Adrianna Halina. "Salvaging a Record for Humankind: Urgent Anthropology at the Smithsonian Institution, 1964-1984." PhD diss., Johns Hopkins University, 2016.
1965 -- Sol Tax is appointed special advisor in anthropology to the Secretary of the Smithsonian
1966 -- The Urgent Anthropology Program is initiated by the Office of Anthropology
1968 -- The Center for the Study of Man (CSM) is established on July 1 The Urgent Anthropology Program is transferred to CSM The Handbook of North American Indians project is transferred to CSM CSM begins plans to build a Museum of Man
1973 -- The Research Institute on Immigration and Ethnic Studies (RIIES) is established within CSM
1975 -- The Smithsonian Institution receives funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and National Institutes of Health (NIH) to create a film center for human behavior The National Anthropological Film Center (NAFC) opens on May 1 under the CSM umbrella
1976 -- The position of program coordinator of CSM is removed in January and Samuel Stanley is transferred to the National Museum of Natural History (NMNH) CSM is placed under the authority of NMNH CSM devotes the bulk of its resources to completing the Handbook of North American Indians
1977 -- NAFC is incorporated in CSM
1978 -- The Handbook of North American Indians is published and the program is transferred back to the Department of Anthropology at NMNH Urgent Anthropology Program is transferred to the Department of Anthropology at NMNH
1980 -- The final attempt to create a Museum of Man fails
1981 -- NAFC is divided into the Human Studies Film Archive (HSFA) and the Third World Film Center (or Research Film Center) on October 1 The HSFA is joined with the National Anthropological Archives (NAA) The Third World Film Center remains within CSM
1982 -- RIIES is transferred to the Department of Anthropology at NMNH
1983 -- The Third World Film Center is phased out
The Center for the Study of Man records are open for research.
Access to the Center for the Study of Man records requires an appointment.