In Memoriam: Grace Gredys Harris (1926-2011)

Grace Gredys Harris, professor emerita of anthropology and religion at the University of Rochester, died late last month at the age of 85. Her research focused on the rituals of the Taita people of Kenya. She authored the book Casting Out Anger: Religion Among the Taita of Kenya (Cambridge University Press).

Professor Harris taught at Boston University, the University of Massachusetts, and Brandeis University. She joined the faculty at the University of Rochester in 1961 but only on a part-time basis. A rule in effect at that time prohibited a spouse of a professor from holding an academic position in the same department. Her husband Alfred Harris taught in the department of anthropology and sociology at the university. But in 1968 she was named an associate professor and was promoted to full professor in 1977. She was instrumental in establishing the university’s doctoral program in anthropology. She remained on the faculty at the University of Rochester for 35 years until her retirement in 1996. In 2005, she donated more than 3,000 books and journals from her personal collection to the library at the University of Iceland in Reykjavik.

Dr. Harris held bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Chicago. She earned a Ph.D. in anthropology at Cambridge University in England.


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