Abraham Rosman and Paula G. Rubel were professors of anthropology at Barnard College, Columbia University. The collection consists of materials documenting their research, writing, and teaching, and reflects their interests in ritualized exchange systems, kinship, social organization, and material culture.
Scope and Contents:
The collection consists of materials documenting Rosman and Rubel's research, writing, and teaching, and reflects their interests in ritualized exchange systems, kinship, social organization, and material culture. The bulk of the collection documents their fieldwork and research among the Kanuri of Nigeria, Kalmyk Mongols in New Jersey, Northwest Coast and Athabaskan societies, pastoral nomads of Iran and Afghanistan, peoples of New Guinea and New Ireland, as well as research on art, ethnographic objects, museums, and collecting. The collection includes field notes, historical and archival research and notes, bibliographies, correspondence, writings, maps, photographs, and sound recordings.
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 As an historical document, its contents may be at odds with contemporary views and terminology and considered offensive today.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.
The collection is arranged into three series: (1) Fieldwork and research, 1952-2004; (2) Conference papers, 1970-1995; and (3) Teaching, circa 1980-circa 1990.
Abraham Rosman was born in New York City in 1930. He earned his BA in anthropology from City College (1959) and PhD in anthropology from Yale (1962). His dissertation "Social Structure and Acculturation among the Kanuri of Northern Nigeria" was based on fieldwork conducted in 1956-1957. He was appointed Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Columbia University in 1962. He was a full professor at Barnard College from 1972 until his retirement in 1998.
Paula G. Rubel was born in The Bronx, New York in 1933. She earned her BA in psychology from Hunter College (1953) and her PhD in anthropology from Columbia University (1963). Her dissertation was based on fieldwork among an immigrant community of Russian Kalmyk Mongols in New Jersey. She was part of the faculty of Barnard College from 1965 until her retirement in 1989, becoming a full professor in 1974.
Rosman and Rubel were married 1971. They worked together throughout their careers, focusing their research on comparative studies and structural analysis of ritual exchange, kinship relations, power, social hierarchies, religion, and material culture. They studied kinship and exchange along the Pacific Northwest Coast, among pastoral groups in Iran and Afghanistan, and in New Guinea and New Ireland. They also studied ethnographic objects, tribal art, and the social world of museums, collectors, and dealers. Their partnership was collaborative, alternating first authorship with each publication. They were the authors of numerous monographs including
Feasting with Mine Enemy: Rank and Exchange among Northwest Coast Societies (1971), Your Own Pigs You May Not Eat: A Comparative Study of New Guinea Societies (1978), The Tapestry of Culture: An Introduction to Cultural Anthropology (1981), and Collecting Tribal Art: How Northwest Coast Masks and Eastern Island Lizard Men Became Art (2012).
Rubel died in 2018 and Rosman died in 2020. Their final book, Aliens on Our Shores: An Anthropological History of New Ireland Papua New Guinea 1616-1914, was published posthumously in 2021.
Sharp, Lesley A. "Paula G. Rubel (1922-2018)." American Anthropologist. 121.2 (2019): 540-542.
Sharp, Lesley A. and Maxine Weisgrau. "Abraham Rosman (1930-2020)." American Anthropologist. 123.1 (2020): 205-207.
1930 -- Born in New York City
1951 -- Marries Bernice Lieberman
1952 -- BA in anthropology from City College
1962 -- PhD in anthropology from Yale University Assistant Professor of Anthropology, Columbia University
1966 -- Associate Professor of Anthropology, Barnard college, Columbia University
1971 -- Divorces Bernice Rosman Marries Paula G. Rubel
1972 -- Professor of Anthropology, Barnard College, Columbia University
1998 -- Retires
2020 -- Dies
Paula G. Rubel
1933 -- Born Paula Glicksman in The Bronx, New York
1953 -- BA in pyschology from Hunter College
1954 -- Marries Hewitt Rubel
1963 -- PhD in anthropology from Columbia University
1965 -- Lecturer, Barnard College, Columbia University
1966 -- Assistant Professor, Barnard College, Columbia University
1971 -- Divorces Hewitt Rubel Marries Abraham Rosman
1974 -- Professor, Barnard College, Columbia University
1998 -- Retires
2012-2014 -- President, Association of Senior Anthropologists
2018 -- Dies
Donated to the National Anthropological Archives by Abraham Rosman in 2019.
The Abraham Rosman and Paula G. Rubel papers are open for research.
Use of archival audiovisual recordings with no duplicate access copy requires advance notice. Please contact the archives for information on availability of access copies of audiovisual recordings.
Digital media in the collection is restricted for preservation reasons.
Access to the Abraham Rosman and Paula G. Rubel papers requires an appointment.