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Keywords:

  • Roy Rappaport;
  • interview;
  • biography;
  • Maring fieldwork;
  • ecological anthropology;
  • anthropology of religion;
  • engaged anthropology

Recognized as a principal figure in ecological anthropology, Roy Rappaport is best known for his study Pigs for the Ancestors (1968). His work in the anthropology of religion has received less attention. Least acknowledged is Rappaport's role in defining an “engaged” anthropology. Drawn from interviews Tom Fricke conducted with Rappaport in the year before his death in October 1997, this article gives insight into these three facets of his professional life. Beginning with an account of Rappaport's fieldwork with the Tsembaga Maring, the discussion takes up his core themes, ideas that evolved out of his early field experience and with which he was engaged as he worked to finish his final book, Ritual and Religion in the Making of Humanity (1999).