Title: Gardner Cowles Professor of Anthropology and Education
Company: Columbia University
Location: New York, New York, United States
With more than 60 years of professional experience, Dr. Comitas has been the Gardner Cowles Professor of Anthropology and Education at Columbia University since 1988, having been a full professor since 1967. He has also served as director of the school’s Institute of International Studies since 1984 and as the president of the Comitas Institute for Anthropological Study since 2003.
In addition to his primary roles, Dr. Comitas was administrator of the Ruth Landes Memorial Research Fund from 1991 to 2006, and he was the director of the Research Institute for the Study of Man from 1985 to 2001, director of philosophy, social science and education from 1979 to 1996, and director for the Institute for Latin America and Iberian Studies from 1977 to 1984. Dr. Comitas started with Columbia University as an instructor of anthropology from 1958 to 1961, assistant professor from 1962 to 1964, and associate professor of anthropology and education from 1965 to 1967.
Dr. Comitas began his career in the United States Army, serving from 1946 to 1947. Studying at Columbia University, he was drawn to anthropology because he found it interesting, and he discovered that there were few young teachers in the field at that time. He was subsequently trained to replace his own professor. He first obtained a Bachelor of Arts in 1948, later earning a Doctor of Philosophy in anthropology in 1962.
A leading voice in the field, Dr. Comitas has written numerous books and articles in his areas of expertise. In addition, he is a member of the drug abuse, clinical, behavioral, and psychosocial research review committee of the National Institute for Drug Abuse. He has also been a distinguished member of the American Anthropological Association and a member of the American Ethnology Society and the New York Academy of Sciences. Dr. Comitas is the former president of the Society for Applied Anthropology and the former chairman of the committee of anthropology and education for the National Academy of Education.
Throughout his career, Dr. Comitas has been recognized for his contributions. A former grantee of the National Institute of Drug Abuse, he has also been a Fulbright Grantee of the Spencer Foundation. He has been recognized as a John Simon Guggenheim Fellow, an Office Education Fellow, a Fellow of the New York Academy of Science, and a Fellow of the American Anthropological Association. Dr. Comitas is particularly proud of having been a full professor for more than 50 years, and he has sponsored more than 100 PhD’s, a feat nobody else has accomplished in the field of anthropology.
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