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MSS 0516  
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  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • BIOGRAPHY
  • SCOPE AND CONTENT

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Roy Rappaport Papers,
    Date (inclusive): 1961-1985
    Collection number: MSS 0516
    Creator: Rappaport, Roy A.
    Extent: 13.50 linear feet (32 archives boxes, 5 card file boxes and 3 oversize folders)
    Repository: Mandeville Special Collections Library, UCSD
    La Jolla, CA 92093-0175
    Physical location: For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.
    Abstract: Papers of Roy A. Rappaport, an ethnographic anthropologist whose area of specialization was the religious ritual of the Tsembaga people of the Maring speaking region in Papua New Guinea. The Rappaport Papers represent the research and materials generated from his fieldwork with the Tsembaga Maring of the Simbai Valley during two field trips (1962-1963 and 1981-1982). Rappaport's first field trip was in conjunction with Columbia University for his dissertation, and the second trip served as a follow-up study. Rappaport's research was concerned with the means by which ritual mediates the relationships of a congregation, or population, to entities external to itself. The papers include correspondence with colleagues, students, friends, and local Papua New Guinea officials; manuscripts of published and unpublished works; ethnographic data collected in field notebooks; typescript summaries; diaries; photographs and audiorecordings. The papers span the period 1961 to 1985, with the bulk dates of 1962 -1982. The papers are arranged in seven series: 1) CORRESPONDENCE; 2) FIELD NOTES, 1962-1963; 3) FIELD NOTES, 1981-1982; 4) WRITINGS; 5) TEACHING MATERIAL; 6) PHOTOGRAPHS; and, 7) AUDIORECORDINGS.
    Language: English.

    Administrative Information

    Access

    Master reel-to-reel and cassette audio-tapes in Series 7 are restricted. Researchers must request a listening copy to be produced.

    Preferred Citation

    Roy Rappaport Papers, MSS 0516. Mandeville Special Collections Library, UCSD.

    BIOGRAPHY

    Roy A. (Skip) Rappaport was born in New York City on March 25, 1926. Rappaport earned his B.S. in hotel administration from Cornell University (1949) and his Ph.D. in anthropology from Columbia University (1966).
    From October 1962 to December 1963, Rappaport spent fourteen months in the Simbai Valley of the Madang Territory in Papua New Guinea researching the Tsembaga Maring for his dissertation. The Tsembaga Maring, shifting swidden horticulturists, occupied approximately three square miles of the southern wall of the Simbai Valley, a region that had been contacted (1958) and "controlled" (1962) by the Australian government. His research was concerned with the means by which ritual mediates the relationships of a congregation, or population, to entities external to itself. During his time there, Rappaport collected extensive information on Tsembaga demography, ritual, animal husbandry, gardening, linguistics, and nutrition. His research was supplemented by contact with other researchers in the Simbai Valley working with neighboring tribes, including Andrew and Cherry Vayda and Allison and Marek Jablonko, who were associated with the Columbia University Expedition with Rappaport. In addition, Ann Rappaport, who accompanied her husband in the field, was primarily responsible for the Tsembaga Maring linguistic research.
    Rappaport's dissertation, RITUAL IN THE ECOLOGY OF A NEW GUINEA PEOPLE: AN ANTHROPOLOGICAL STUDY OF THE TSEMBAGA MARING (1966), was later expanded to PIGS FOR THE ANCESTORS: RITUAL IN THE ECOLOGY OF A NEW GUINEA PEOPLE (1967). It became a landmark study of human ecology in a New Guinea central highland tribal society.
    Just prior to defending his dissertation, Rappaport accepted a position in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Michigan where he was a faculty member from 1965 until 1997, eventually distinguishing himself as the Walgreen Professor for the Study of Human Understanding. In addition, he served as the chair (1975-1980) of the Department of Anthropology and was the president of the American Anthropological Association from 1987-1989.
    A grant from the National Science Foundation enabled Rappaport to take a second trip to the Simbai Valley from October 1981 to August 1982. This trip served as a follow-up study designed to analyze the change and acculturation of the Tsembaga Maring under increasing pressure from Western culture.
    Rappaport authored two additional books: ECOLOGY, MEANING, AND RELIGION (1984) and, RITUAL AND RELIGION IN THE MAKING OF HUMANITY (1999), published posthumously. He also authored over 60 journal articles.
    Roy Rappaport died on October 9, 1997 in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

    SCOPE AND CONTENT

    The Roy A. Rappaport Papers document the research and materials generated from Rappaport's two field trips (1962-1963 and 1981-1982) to the Simbai Valley in the Madang Territory of Papua New Guinea while studying the ritual and ecology of the Tsembaga Maring. The fieldwork from 1962-1963 represents Rappaport's research for his dissertation. The second trip (1981-1982) served as a follow-up study that reflects similar interests but ultimately demonstrates how the Tsembaga Maring have acculturated in the face of increasing pressure from Western culture. There is a greater breadth and depth of research material from the first trip; however, the research from the second trip evidences some comparative studies. The materials represented in the Rappaport Papers include correspondence with colleagues, students, friends, and local officials; manuscripts of published and unpublished works; ethnographic data collected in field notebooks; typescript summaries; diaries; photographs; audiorecordings; and, writings from others related to his area of research. In addition, Rappaport's wife, Ann, compiled extensive Tsembaga Maring linguistic material, which is also represented. The papers occupy 15.4 linear feet and are arranged in seven series: 1) CORRESPONDENCE; 2) FIELD NOTES, 1962-1963; 3) FIELD NOTES 1981-1982; 4) WRITINGS; 5) TEACHING MATERIAL; 6) PHOTOGRAPHS; and, 7) AUDIORECORDINGS.
    SERIES 1: CORRESPONDENCE This series is arranged alphabetically by correspondent and contains correspondence with Rappaport's colleagues, friends, and associates spanning the years 1962-1980. Notable correspondence concerning research include letters from Georgeda Bick, Ralph Bulmer, Edward LiPuma, Mervyn Meggitt, Allison Jablonko, Cherry Lowman Vayda, and Andrew Peter Vayda. The folder titled "Simbai Valley Correspondence" contains letters to and from various Simbai Valley denizens including colleagues, friends, informants, and local officials. Several of the correspondent files contain manuscripts and typescripts by the correspondent.
    SERIES 2: FIELD NOTES, 1962-1963
    The FIELD NOTES, 1962-1963, series is arranged in three subseries: A) Diaries, Field Notebooks and Typescript Summaries; B) Note Cards; and, C) Subject Files.
    A) The Diaries, Field Notebooks and Typescript Summaries subseries is arranged alphabetically by format and thereunder chronologically within each format, and contain Rappaport's notes on the activities of the Tsembaga, such as interviews with informants, details from conversations, linguistic material, and observations. The diaries, field notebooks, and typescript summaries reflect similar information recorded at different times of the day. The field notebooks contain unrefined information obtained in the field through conversations with informants and observations. Also included in the field notebooks are brief shot lists of several rolls of the black-and-white film. The field notebooks are supplemented by field notebooks titled "Scaling books," which record trophic data of individual families. The typescript summaries are detailed recapitulations of the field notebooks with some explication or supposition of the three formats;they offer the greatest depth and breadth of information. In addition to being a general recapitulation of Rappaport's activities, the diaries also reflect chores, ideas to explore, personal information, and general observations not necessarily pertinent to Rappaport's dissertation.
    B) The Note Card subseries is arranged alphabetically by category. The categories include notes on linguistics, PIGS FOR THE ANCESTORS, and research material. The research material is primarily composed of gardening notes, including botany and horticultural techniques, and notes regarding Tsembaga cultural dynamics, such as political organizations, economics, religion, and art. The linguistic material was primarily compiled by Rappaport's wife, Ann.
    C) The Subject File subseries is arranged alphabetically by subject and contains population censuses, garden censuses, aerial photographs and maps of Rappaports's study area, and linguistic material. Also included are two letters from "MM" to Andrew Peter Vayda, Rappaport's advisor, in a folder titled "Preparation Lists and Notes" -the "MM" may refer to Margaret Mead who served as an advisor for the Columbia University Expedition of 1962-1963, as well as a member of Rappaport's dissertation committee.
    SERIES 3: FIELD NOTES, 1981-1982
    The FIELD NOTES, 1981-1982, series is arranged in three subseries: A) Diaries, Field Notebooks, and Typescript Summaries; B) Note Cards; and, C) Subject Files.
    A) The Diaries, Field Notebooks, and Typescript Summaries subseries is arranged by format and thereunder chronologically within each format. The documents are primarily composed of Rappaport's notes on the activities of the Tsembaga and include interviews with informants and detailed accounts of conversations and observations. The 1981-1982 notes reflect similar research interests as that of the 1962-1963 notes with the addition of comparative observations.
    B) The Note Card subseries contains research notes arranged alphabetically by subject and reflect changes in the cultural dynamics of the Tsembaga.
    C) The Subject File subseries is arranged alphabetically by subject. There are comparative notes on the garden censuses between Rappaport's 1962-1963 and 1981-1982 field work in the folder titled "Gardens, 1963 -1982." The personal censuses material (box 19, folders 3-15) in this subseries corresponds with that of the 1962-1963 personal censuses material (box 10, folders 7-17).
    SERIES 4: WRITINGS OF RAPPAPORT
    The Writings of Rappaport series is arranged alphabetically by title. Included in the subseries are several draft versions of Rappaport's dissertation, RITUAL IN THE ECOLOGY OF A NEW GUINEA PEOPLE: AN ANTHROPOLOGICAL STUDY OF THE TSEMBAGA MARING; an abandoned or renamed project titled Maring Environment and Subsistence; and revisions for PIGS FOR THE ANCESTORS.
    SERIES 5: TEACHING MATERIALS
    The TEACHING MATERIALS series contains course material, such as syllabi, notes and assignments, from both courses Rappaport participated in as a graduate student as well as material he used as aprofessor. In addition, material from seminars that Rappaport participated in is included in this series.
    SERIES 6: PHOTOGRAPHS
    The PHOTOGRAPHS series is arranged in two subseries: A) Black-and-White Prints and B) Color Slides.
    A) The Black-and-White Prints subseries contains photoprints and contact sheets of images taken from Rappaport's 1962-1963 fieldwork. The images document daily village life as well as aspects of ritual. Several of the contact sheets have corresponding shot lists associated with them located in SERIES 2A.
    B) The Color Slides subseries is divided into two distinct groups labelled "S" and "T." The "S" slides are from a 1960 Tahitian archaeological expedition that Rappaport participated in and includes slides taken in Taiwan, Japan, Australia, and New York. The "T" slides are from Rappaport's 1962-1963 Papua New Guinea field work and document daily village activity as well as aspects of ritual. Generally, there is descriptive annotation on the slides. This subseries contains several images of Rappaport, as well as his wife Ann.
    SERIES 7: AUDIORECORDINGS
    The AUDIORECORDINGS series contains two subseries: A) Reel-to-Reel and B) Cassettes.
    A) The Reel-to-Reel subseries contains 16 reel-to-reel tapes made during Rappaport's 1962-1963 fieldwork in New Guinea. These recordings document linguistic exercises, Maring dialogue, recording instructions, chanting, drumming, and singing.
    B) The Cassettes subseries contains 29 cassette tapes recorded during Rappaport's 1981-1982 fieldwork in New Guinea. These tapes document court cases, religious ceremonies, popular songs, and interviews.
    Restriction note: master reel-to-reel and cassette audio-tapes in Series 7 are restrictied. Researchers must request a listening copy to be produced.