Dr. Ron Reminick earned a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago in 1973. First fieldwork was conducted in Jamaica in 1965 where he explored the then-nascent Rastafarian movement, but his primary interest is in Ethiopia; that dates back to 1966 when he discovered the people through the just-published book Wax and Gold by Donald Levine, a University of Chicago sociologist. His original fieldwork in Ethiopia, funded by NIMH during the late 1960s was carried out in the remote central highlands among the Amhara people with whom he studied religion, ritual, and the culture of masculinity.
1974-1991: Hiatus in Ethiopian studies occurred with the deposition of the last emperor in 1974 followed by a brutal dictatorship which was overthrown in 1991. Turned to Black culture in America; published a theoretical volume on ethnicity (1983) and a book on Black ethnicity (1988). 1993: returned to Ethiopia as a Fulbright Scholar. Spent 2 years contributing to the development of the Master’s Program in Anthropology. Settled there with his family, including 6 staff members and a young olive baboon.
With 2 consecutive Fulbright grants, able to spend two years contributing to the Addis Ababa University’s Master’s Programme in Social Anthropology. Here, established a department library of over 2500 volumes, taught two Master’s Degree courses in theory and methods of research, and was director, advisor, and reader for 6 of his students’ Master’s Degree ethnographic research studies. During this period 4 major research projects of his own were carried out within the perspective of psychological anthropology, with the assistance of 4 of his students: A library and ethnographic study of the evolution of Addis Ababa; a life history study of growing old in the city; a community study of Rastafarians in the town of Shashemane; and an on-going study of prostitution.
After his Fulbright tenure in Ethiopia Dr. Ron facilitated political asylum for his close veterinarian friend who subsequently earned a PhD in molecular biology here in the U.S. and was on the faculty of the university where he studied, subsequently assumed a prestigious position at the Ohio State University.
In successive years Dr. Ron returned to Ethiopia to visit friends and colleagues and maintain warm relations with his adoptive family.
2005: Senior Specialist’s Fulbright grant to consult and study in Cleveland’s sister city, Bahir Dar, and work with faculty at Bahir Dar University. Lectured and held workshops on proposal writing and research funding, initiated a faculty-student exchange program, and directed the setting up of women’s support groups for research into female gender identity transformation now run by 2 B.D.U. English Department faculty members, an Ethiopian woman and an American woman.
At the end of his stay he and his wife Wendy trekked in the Semien Mountains and climbed the 5th highest mountain in Africa, Bwahit (4,430m/14,619ft).
Continued involvement with Ethiopia: collaborating with his Italian colleague on a collection of cultural profiles, collaborating with a female Ethiopian colleague on aspects of the prostitution experience, and consulting with and advising new researchers into Ethiopian society.
2000-2004 (selected intervals): ethnographer for the Youth Opportunity (YO) Program, Cleveland, Ohio, funded by the Department of Labor. Twenty-eight million dollars was given to Cleveland, Ohio to gain insight into the world of Black youth living in Cleveland’s Empowerment Zone and the repercussions of joblessness. Dr. Ron is presently a core member of the CSU Center on Healing Across Cultures. This project is involved in research in India, Belize, Ethiopia, and Appalachia. An annual symposium brings scholarly papers by nationally known authorities. Currently, Dr. Ron is researching Hawaiian shamanism. He will spend Fall Semester, 2014, on Sabbatical, on the Big Island, HI, surveying sacred sites, collecting mythologies of those sites, interviewing shamans of the Kahuna tradition and making shamanic excursions into nonordinary reality.