- Collection ID:
Levy, Robert I. (Robert Isaac), 1924-
Collection is primarily in
. Field sound recordings and some of the accompanying transcripts are in
- Physical Description:
37.4 linear feet
71 boxes, 5 map-folders
The Robert I. Levy papers document his field work, research and professional activities from 1949-2001 and primarily deal with his work studying social organization, culture, and their psychological effects in Tahiti and Nepal. The collection consists of correspondence, field notes, sound recordings of interviews with informants in Tahiti and Nepal, interview transcripts and analyses, language and culture research materials, maps, and color slides. Also included are files about his books, articles, essays, and lectures; course materials from his time as a professor at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD); and conference files.
Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents
The Robert I. Levy papers document his field work, research and professional activities from 1949-2001 and primarily deal with his work studying social organization, culture and their psychological effects in Tahiti and Nepal. The collection consists of correspondence, field notes, sound recordings of interviews with informants in Tahiti and Nepal, interview transcripts and analyses, language and culture research materials, maps, and color slides.
The correspondence includes Levy's thoughts on his first field work experience in Tahiti from 1961-1964 along with extensive correspondence with Levy's cousin, anthropologist Roy Rappaport, in the same time period. Interview transcripts from Tahiti are written in Tahitian with Levy's notes in English. Transcripts from Nepal are in Newar (Devanagari script) with English translations. Full transcripts in both languages are not always present. Research materials comprise documents Levy gathered before and after his periods of field work and include extensive analyses of psychological terms in Tahitian and Newar. The color slides depict adults, children, daily activities, rituals, and some landscapes in Tahiti and Nepal.
Also included in this collection are files about his books, articles, essays, and lectures; course materials from his time as a professor at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD); and conference files.
This collection is arranged in 4 series: Series 1. Tahiti, 1959-1964, 1970, undated; Series 2. Nepal, 1959-1990, undated; Series 3. Professional activities, 1949-2001, undated; Series 4. Slides, 1961, 1973-1978, undated.
Robert I. Levy was born on June 1st in New York, New York.
M.D. Degree, New York University, College of Medicine.
Army Medical Corps, Neuropsychiatric and Psychiatric Services, Germany.
Specialty certification in psychiatry. American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology.
Private psychiatry practice.
Associate Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, University of California, School of Medicine.
Attending Psychiatrist, Langley Porter Neuropsychiatric Institute, San Francisco, California.
Adjunct in psychiatry, Mount Zion Hospital, San Francisco, California.
Fellow, American Psychiatric Association.
From July-August 1961 and July 1962-June 1964, field work in French Polynesia. Grants from the National Institute for Mental Health and the National Science Foundation.
Research Associate, Anthropology, Bishop Museum, Honolulu.
Senior Scholar, Institute of Advanced Projects, East-West Center;
Visiting Associate Professor of Public Health, University of Hawaii.
Research Professor, Social Science Research Institute of Hawaii;
Lecturer, Department of Anthropology, University of Hawaii.
Professor of Anthropology, University of California, San Diego.
Field work in Nepal. National Science Foundation grant.
Honorary Senior Fulbright-Hays Grant, Nepal.
Fellow, National Humanities Center, Research Triangle Park, NC.
Research Professor of Anthropology, Duke University.
Research Professor of Anthropology, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill;
Emeritus Professor of Anthropology, University of California, San Diego;
Fellow, American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Died August 29th in Asolo, Italy.
Robert I. Levy was a professor in the Anthropology Department at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) from 1969 until his retirement in 1991 who was known for his ground breaking work in psychological anthropology. Born in 1924 in New York, New York, he originally trained in medicine and psychiatry (M.D. Degree, New York University, 1947). Levy was lured into anthropology in the early 1960s by Douglas Oliver to work on a field project in Tahiti. Levy spent a total of 26 months from 1961-1964 conducting research in Tahiti focused on aspects of Tahitian culture and psychological organization. The resulting book
Tahitians: Mind and Experience in the Society Islands
(1973) was selected as a finalist for the National Book Award. Levy went on to complete field work in Nepal in the traditional Hindu city of Bhaktapur, from 1973-1976 conducting research on social organization, culture, and their psychological correlates. The culmination of his research,
Mesocosm: Hinduism and the Organization of a Traditional Newar City in Nepal
, was published in 1990.
Prior to joining the faculty at UCSD, Levy was a senior scholar at the East-West Center, a research associate at the Bishop Museum, and a professor at the University of Hawaii, all in Honolulu. He was also the associate editor of ETHOS from 1971-1979 and received fellowships at the Center for Advanced Study in Behavioral Sciences in Palo Alto, CA (1985-1986) and the National Humanities Center in Research Triangle Park, NC (1990-1991). After his retirement from UCSD in 1991 Levy was appointed a Research Professor of Anthropology at both the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and Duke University. He died in 2003 in Asolo, Italy.
Source consulted: Hollan, Douglas 2005 "Mind and Experience in Tahiti, Nepal, and Beyond." ETHOS. Vol. 33, No. 4, Special Section in Honor of Robert I. Levy (Dec., 2005), pp. 430-432.
The series delineated in this collection are based on the original order and groupings of the materials upon their arrival at this institution. Original folder titles were used where appropriate. Please note that Levy was not consistent in his spelling of informant names across all materials. The archivist picked the spelling that was most prevalent to describe the materials within this finding aid and attempted to note spelling variations and abbreviations where applicable.
Processed and encoded by Katie Duvall, 2015.
Funding for the processing of this collection was provided by the Wenner-Gren Foundation.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
These papers were donated to the National Anthropological Archives by Robert Levy's wife, Nerys Levy, in 2014.
- 1966 "Ma'ohi Drinking Patterns in the Society Islands." Journal of the Polynesian Society 75: 304-320. Reprinted in Polynesia, Readings of a Culture Area, A. Howard., ed. Scranton: Chandler, 1971.
- 1968 "Child Management Structure and its Implications in a Tahitian Family." In A Modern Introduction to the Family. Revised ed., Vogel and Bell, eds. New York, Free Press.
- 1971 "The Community Function of Tahitian Male Transvestitism: A Hypothesis." Anthropological Quarterly, Vol. 44, No. 1, January. The Catholic University of America Press, Washington D.C. March. Reprinted in the Substance of Social Deviance, V. Swigert and R.A. Farrell, eds. Sherman Oaks: Alfred, 1979. Reprinted in Ethnographic Studies of Homosexuality, W. Dynes and S. Donaldson, eds. Hamden, Connecticut: Garland Publishers. 1992.
Tahitians: Mind and Experience in the Society Islands. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
- 1982 "On the Nature and Functions of the emotions: An Anthropological Perspective," in Social Science Information 21, 4/5 (1982), pp. 511-528.
- 1984 "The Emotions in Comparative Perspective," in Approaches to Emotion, K.R. Scherer and Paul Ekman, eds. Hillsdale, N.J.: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
- 1987 "An Anthropological Perspective on the Newars," in Nepal, Perspectives on Development Issues, Leo Rose, ed.
- 1989 with Jane Wellenkamp. "Methodology in the Anthropological Study of Emotion" in The Measurement of Emotion, R. Plutchick and H. Kellerman, eds. Academic Press.
Mesocosm: The Organization of a Hindu Newar City in Nepal. University of California Press.
- 1994 "Person Centered Anthropology." In Assessing Cultural Anthropology, Robert Borowsky, ed. McGraw Hill.
- 1998 with Douglas Hollan. "Person-Centered Interviewing and Observation." In Handbook of Methods in Cultural Anthropology. H. Russell Bernard, ed. Walnut Creek: Alta Mira Press.
Using the Collection
Conditions Governing Use
Conditions Governing Access
Use of archival audiovisual recordings with no duplicate access copy requires advance notice.
Conditions Governing Access
The Robert I. Levy papers are open for research.
Access to the Robert I. Levy papers requires an appointment.
Robert I. Levy papers, National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Institution.
National Anthropological Archives
Museum Support Center
4210 Silver Hill Road