BUNZEL, RUTH LEAH (1898–1990), U.S. anthropologist. Born in New York City, Bunzel was an art student before she studied anthropology under
. Bunzel obtained intimate knowledge of primitive art and artists by her research on the potters of the Pueblo Indians of the American Southwest. Her first fieldwork experience came as part of a trip to observe the Zuni. Remarking that women were barred from the ritual practices of the Zuni, Bunzel gravitated toward researching pottery, as it offered her an area in which women's work and skill were integral. In 1960 she became professor of anthropology at Columbia University. Her field research on American Indians was done in New Mexico, Arizona, Guatemala, and Mexico; she also undertook social and anthropological studies of the Chinese community in New York City. Her later research interests were problems of a national character, American and Chinese, and the interrelations of personality and culture.
She contributed to Boas' General Anthropology (1938) and to the journal Psychiatry.
Among her publications are The Pueblo Potter: A Study of Creative Imagination in Primitive Art (1929); Zuni Katcinas: An Analytical Study (1932); The Golden Age of American Anthropology (1960), which she edited with Margaret Mead; and Zuni Ceremonialism (1992).