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Erika Eichhorn Bourguignon

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Bourguignon Erika Eichhorn Bourguignon, 90, died in Columbus, Ohio, February 15, 2015. She was professor emerita of anthropology at The Ohio State University, where she taught for more than 40 years. She published seven books and more than eighty professional articles and was well known for her contributions to psychological anthropology, anthropology of religion and anthropology of women. Born in Vienna in 1924, Bourguignon arrived in the United States with her parents, Luitpold and Charlotte Eichhorn, in 1939; the family fled Austria after the 1938 Anschluss. She held a B.A. from Queens College (1945), and a Ph.D. from Northwestern University (1951). She met her husband, Belgian writer and artist Paul-Henri Bourguignon, while conducting fieldwork in Haiti (1947-48). Arriving at Ohio State in 1949, Bourguignon became a founding member of what would become the Department of Anthropology. She taught the first course on anthropology of women at the university, chaired a newly formed Council on Academic Excellence for Women and was the first woman to chair a department in OSU's College of Social and Behavioral Sciences. After her retirement in 1990, she wrote and lectured on anthropological topics and Haiti and worked actively to promote her late husband's artwork. Her honors include Ohio State's Alumni Distinguished Scholar Award (1986), the Society for Psychological Anthropology's first Lifetime Achievement Award (1999) and a Doctor of Humane Letters degree (2000) from Queens College. She is survived by a diverse network of friends, colleagues and former students. Contributions may be made in her honor to The Paul and Erika Bourguignon Fund at the Columbus Foundation (www.columbusfoundation.org), Partners in Health (www.pih.org) or the Zusman Hospice (whv.org/Healthcare/Zusman-Hospice). An informal memorial celebration will be held at 8 p.m. on Thursday, April 2, 2015, following the annual Paul H. and Erika Bourguignon Lecture in Art and Anthropology at 7 p.m. in the Ohio Union (http://anthropology.osu.edu/events/annual-paul-h.-and-erika-bourguignon-lecture-art-and-anthropology). Condolences may be sent to the family at www.rutherfordfuneralhome.com.


Published in The Columbus Dispatch on Feb. 22, 2015
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