Biographical Note: Barbara Kerewsky-Halpern
was born on December 23, 1931 in Mt. Vernon, New York. Her mother, Rose S. Kerewsky, had worked with physical anthropologist Stanley Garn and coauthored a number of papers on dentition. Kerewsky-Halpern attended Barnard College, where she received a B.A. in Geology and Geography in 1953. She later obtained her M.A. in Linguistics (1974) and Ph.D. in Anthropology (1979) at University of Massachusetts in Amherst.
Kerewsky-Halpern married Joel M. Halpern in 1952. In the following year she accompanied him to the field in Orašac, Serbia and assisted him in his research. She was also the illustrator and cartographer for Halpern's monograph A Serbian Village. Over the span of her career, she frequently collaborated with her husband on research projects and coauthored a number of articles. Like her husband, her research focused on peasant communities, specifically on oral traditions and the ethnography of communication. In 1974, she also studied South Slav communities in Ontario.
When she was 44, Kerewsky-Halpern became incapacitated due to multiple sclerosis. Through self-rehabilitation, she was able to regain full motion, but the experience continued to influence her life. Her research interests expanded to include medical anthropology, cross-cultural perspectives on disability, and the anthropology of movement. She also became active in multiple sclerosis associations and became a licensed instructor in the Feldenkrais Method in 1983.
Kerewsky-Halpern and Halpern divorced in 2010.
[Articles about Barbara K. Halpern], Series 9. Personal, Joel Martin Halpern and Barbara Kerewsky-Halpern Papers, National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Institution.
Barbara K. Halpern curriculum vitae, Series 9. Personal, Joel Martin Halpern and Barbara Kerewsky-Halpern Papers, National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Institution.
Clifford, Joyce and Jeremy Smith. 2010. Finding Aid to Joel Martin Halpern Papers, 1939-2009 (Bulk: 1948-2008). http://www.library.umass.edu/spcoll/ead/mufs001.pdf (accessed December 3, 2012).
Halpern, Joel. 2003. Interview with Joel Halpern [regarding fieldwork in Serbia] conducted by Mirjana Prošić-Dvornić. Emeritus Faculty Author Gallery. Paper 60. http://scholarworks.umass.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1059&context=emeritus_sw (accessed December 3, 2012).
Halpern, Joel. August 2007. Curriculum Vitae. http://works.bepress.com/joel_halpern/cv.pdf (accessed July 6, 2012).
Biographical Note: Joel M. Halpern
Joel Martin Halpern
was born on April 8, 1929 in New York City. He attended University of Michigan, where he obtained his B.A. in History in 1950. He had initially intended to major in chemistry but realized that he wanted to pursue a more "adventurous" field that would allow him to travel. While an undergraduate student, he published articles based on his ethnographic, geological, and archaeological research in Alaska, Canada, and Swedish Lapland.
Halpern decided to continue his studies at Columbia University, where he earned his Ph.D. in Anthropology in 1956. Conrad Arensberg was his faculty advisor, while Margaret Mead was on his doctoral committee. Halpern was greatly influenced by Philip E. Mosely, the first director of Columbia University's Institute for Russian Studies. Through Mosely, he met the prominent Serbian ethnologist Milenko Filipović, who also served as his mentor. It was due to Filipovíc that Halpern chose to focus his research on a Serbian village for his dissertation.
In 1953, Halpern and his former wife, Barbara Kerewskey-Halpern, conducted ethnographic field research in Orašac, a village in the Sumadija district of central Serbia, at the time part of former Yugoslavia. This research resulted in Halpern's dissertation, Social and Cultural Change in a Serbian Village, for which he was awarded the Ainsley Award from Columbia University. The dissertation was later edited and published as A Serbian Village (1958). Halpern and his wife would return to Orašac numerous times throughout their career. The documentary The Halperns in Orašac, which aired in Yugoslavia in 1986, focuses on the couple's research in Orašac from 1953 to 1986.
In addition to Serbia, Halpern conducted research in Bosnia, Montenegro, Macedonia, Croatia, and Slovenia. A prolific writer, he published and presented a number of papers on peasant communities, historical demography, kinship, and social change in the Balkans. He also co-edited Among the People: Native Yugoslav Ethnography, Selected Writings of Milenko S. Filipovic (1982) and authored and edited works on and by Jozef Obrebski, the pioneering ethnographer of the Balkans, whose papers Halpern helped deposit at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.
Halpern also published extensively on Laos. He was one of the first American anthropologists to conduct research in the Southeast Asian country. After receiving his doctorate, he had worked on Area Handbook for Laos (1958) as a Research Associate for the Human Relations Area Files office in Washington, DC (1956). When he accepted a position as a Junior Foreign Service Officer (Foreign Service Reserve) with the Community Development Division of the U.S. International Cooperation Administration, he was stationed in Laos in 1957-1958. In 1959 he returned to the country under the sponsorship of Rand Corporation to study the Lao elite. He returned once again in 1969 as chair of the Mekong Seminar of the Southeast Asia Development Advisor Group to study the socio-economic impact of hydro-electrical dams constructed on the Mekong River.
In his later years, Halpern conducted research on the Inuit in Arviat (formerly known as Eskimo Point) and Frobisher Bay in Canada and immigrant populations in the United States. He was particularly interested in Southeast Asian immigrant communities in New England. He co-edited with Lucy Nguyen Far East Comes Near, a compilation of autobiographical essays by his Southeast Asian refugee students at University of Massachusetts. He also studied Jewish ethnic communities in Western Massachusetts and the urban history of the Bronx.
Halpern taught at UCLA (1958-1963) and Brandeis (1963-1965) before joining the Anthropology faculty at University of Massachusetts Amherst (1967-1996). He was also a visiting professor at Albert Ludwigs-Universitat and Arnold Bergstrasser Institute in Frieberg (1970-1971) and University of Graz (Spring 1993, Spring 1994). In addition, he was a National Academy of Sciences Senior Exchange Scientist at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences (1975) and Serbian Academy of Sciences (1975, 1978).
Born April 8, New York, New York
Receives B.A. in History from University of Michigan
Conducts fieldwork in Orašac, Serbia for first time
Earns Ph.D. in Anthropology from Columbia University
Stationed in Laos as a Junior Foreign Service Officer with the Community Development Division of the U.S. International Cooperation Administration
Assistant Professor in the Department of Anthropology at University of California, Los Angeles
Returns to Laos to conduct research on the Lao elite under sponsorship from Rand Corporation
Associate Professor in the Department of Anthropology at Brandeis University
Director of Brandeis University Summer Field Program in Bosnia
Joins Department of Anthropology faculty at University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Visiting Professor, Albert Ludwigs-Universitat and Arnold Bergstrasser Institute, Freiburg, Federal Republic of Germany
Research on Jewish Ethnic Communities in Western Massachusetts
Retires from University of Massachusetts
Divorce from Barbara Kerewsky-Halpern finalized