American Anthropologist and feminist Hanna Papanek died on Saturday December 16, 2017.
Born in Czechoslovakia
Hanna Papanek was born on January 24, 1927. She was the daughter of Alexander Stein and Eleanor Kaiser. Hanna and her family, committed to Democratic Socialism, had to go into exile in Czechoslovakia when the Nazis came to power in Germany in 1934. Her second exile was in France. She came to the United States in 1940, again fleeing Nazi persecution.
In New York City, Hanna graduated from Hunter High School and received her Bachelor’s degree from Brooklyn College. She was one of the first women to receive a PhD in Social Relations from Harvard University. Hanna was a pioneer feminist before the movement became widespread. A scholar and academic, she held appointments atHarvard, Boston University, University of California-Berkeley, and University of Indonesia.
Writing about women’s issues
Her ground breaking study of the two person career presaged the understanding of the role of many women in their husband’s careers. Hanna published extensively, often writing about women’s issues. She wrote and edited a number of books. Her adventurous life gave her insight into the role of women within different cultures. In the 1950’s, she lived 4 years in Karachi Pakistan and in the 1970s 4 years in Jakarta, Indonesia. She did path-breaking work on the role of female seclusion (purdah) in enhancing family status.
Seperate worlds: studies of Purdah in South Asia
Hanna Papanek owned an enormous collection books and grey literature with a focus on women in developing countries, mainly in Indonesia. In 1998 former deputy director Marjet Douze visited Hanna Papanek. Together they selected many publications from her beautiful collection for the International Information Centre and Archives for the Women’s Movement (IIAV, now Atria).
Papers Hanna Papanek (1927 – 2017)
The collection Papanek also included a thesis and a few short papers by a certain S. Ann Dunham Sutoro. Nothing special, until this thesis suddenly came out of interest in 2009. The writer wasn’t just anyone, she was the mother of Barack Obama….
From well-thumbed thesis to special treasure
Thesis Women’s work in village industries on Java
Source: Boston Globe