LAMBROS COMITAS
COMITAS--Lambros. The President, Trustees and extended Teachers College community mourn Lambros Comitas - world-renowned anthropologist, world-class humorist and raconteur, cherished mentor, respected academic statesman, and beloved member of our faculty for more than 56 years as the Gardner Cowles Professor of Anthropology & Education. One of the world's preeminent authorities on Hispanic and non-Hispanic cultures in the Caribbean, Professor Comitas helped develop the concept of occupational multiplicity, identifying workers who defied classification as peasant farmers or other categories. His work provided important insights for government programs and international aid aimed at improving people's economic circumstances. And for nearly 40 years, beginning in 1967, he reviewed and annotated more than 2,000 anthropological publications for his biennial West Indian section in the Handbook of Latin American Studies, issued by the Library of Congress. More recently, Professor Comitas focused on the role of visual anthropology in research, using a photo and video database that he had built over many years. Professor Comitas also had a transformational impact on Teachers College. He helped to create doctoral programs both in Applied Anthropology and Anthropology & Education. From 1979 through 1996, he directed what was then TC's Division of Philosophy, the Social Sciences, and Education, as well as the Institute for International Studies. He also directed Columbia's Institute for Latin American and Iberian Studies and was affiliated with the Research Institute for the Study of Man, a leading Caribbean-focused foundation. Finally, he derived enormous joy and pride from overseeing the doctoral dissertations of some 100 students, many of whom went on to become accomplished scholars. There is no replacing a scholar and human being of Lambros Comitas' caliber. He was cherished, and will be greatly missed. A funeral service for Professor Comitas will take place tomorrow morning (Monday, March 9th) at 11:00am at the Greek Cathedral of the Holy Trinity, 337 East 74th Street, New York 10021. All are welcome. Those wishing to donate in his memory may give to The Anthropology Research Fund in Honor of Lambros Comitas, established in 1992 to support students in the field of anthropology. Contact Susan Scherman at 212-678-8176. Thomas Bailey, President Stephanie J. Rowley, Provost

Published by New York Times on Mar. 8, 2020.
34465541-95D0-45B0-BEEB-B9E0361A315A
To plant trees in memory, please visit the Sympathy Store.
MEMORIAL EVENTS
Mar
9
Funeral service
11:00a.m.
Greek Cathedral of the Holy Trinity
337 East 74th Street, New York, NY
MAKE A DONATION
MEMORIES & CONDOLENCES
Add a Message


Not sure what to say?



3 Entries
Although I was in a different department (sociology), Professor Lambros Comitas took me on as a student and was my PhD dissertation advisor. He was, at once, both demanding (as soon as he looked over one chapter of the dissertation, hed ask, wheres the next one?) and compassionate (he did not flinch from guiding me through the thicket of academic politics). He gave immeasurably to his students, and I am honored to be one of them.
Ernest Volinn
Student
June 25, 2020
Although I knew of his scholarly contributions before, I first met Dr. Lambros Comitas in the Dominican Republic in spring/1976. I had arrived there a few months earlier for my main doctoral field research [which lasted 2.5 years] for the Univ. of Pittsburgh's Anthropology Dept. whose leaders (my mentors), naturally, he knew too. In Santo Domingo, Lambros taught a one week mini-course in Social Anthropology sponsored by the Dominican-American Cultural Institute, and I was asked to assist with his teaching in Spanish to an audience of mostly adult professionals in various fields, encompassing various colleagues affiliated with the Dominican anthropological museum. His presentations were magistral and I learned a lot from him. We later corresponded while I was still in the field (and more recently via e-mail) and, upon my return home to the New York-New Jersey metro area circa mid-1978, we met a few times in Manhattan. He further generously granted me an external courtesy affiliation with the Columbia University Teachers College's Latin-American/Caribbean Institute -which he directed a connection that provided me free access to the Ivy League institution's precious libraries. His link to the Dominican Republic included his mentoring in particular the late anthropologist Glenn Hendricks, whose dissertation on the Dominicans' diaspora became a well-received book which I had the honor of reviewing. Lambros also mentored @ Columbia various other US-American and Dominican-born D.R. specialists (such as Dr. Frank Moya Pons, the most prolific post-Trujillo Dominican historian), as well as other Latin-American & Caribbean academics throughout his long professional career, as his obituary indicates. His wife Irene, whom I also met in Santo Domingo, was most gracious toward us too. His obituary mentions his contributions to social-scientific knowledge in general, but let emphasize here his graciously mentoring many students, and not solely of anthropology, and not just from Columbia University. My deepest sympathy to Irene and family, colleagues and former students.
Pof. Roland Armando Alum, Jr.
March 26, 2020
I was so sorry to hear about Dr. Comitas' passing. He was a wonderful scholar, with an excellent sense of humor, and I was grateful to have known him. Kalo Taxidi, Professor.
Urania Mylonas
March 9, 2020
Showing 1 - 3 of 3 results