Dr. Ron Reminick earned the Ph.D. from the University of Chicago in 1973. His first fieldwork was conducted in Jamaica in 1965 where he explored the then-nascent Rastafarian movement, but his primary interest is in Ethiopia and 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 1960's was carried out in the remote central highlands among the Amhara people with whom he studied religion, ritual, and the culture of masculinity.
A seventeen year hiatus in Dr. Reminick's Ethiopian studies occurred with the deposition of the last emperor in 1974 followed by a brutal dictatorship which was overthrown in 1991. During that interregnum Dr. Reminick turned to Black culture in America and published a theoretical volume on ethnicity (1983) and a book on Black ethnicity (1988). In 1993 Dr. Reminick returned to Ethiopia as a Fulbright Scholar where he spent two years contributing to the development of the Master's Program in Anthropology. He settled there with his family, including 6 staff members and a young olive baboon.
With 2 consecutive Fulbright grants he was able to spend 2 years contributing to the Addis Ababa University’s Master’s Programme in Social Anthropology. Here he established a department library of over 2500 volumes, taught 2 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 Ph.D. in molecular biology here in the U.S. and is now on the faculty of the university where he studied.
In successive years Dr. Ron returned to Ethiopia to visit friends and colleagues and maintain warm relations with his adoptive family.
In 2005 Dr. Ron was approved by the Fulbright board for a grant which was turned down at the Department of State level because of the channeling of funds into the Iraq war. However, a reapplication won him a Senior Specialist’s Fulbright grant to consult and study in Cleveland’s sister city, Bahir Dar, and work with faculty at Bahir Dar University. Here, Dr. Ron attempted to set up a social science research program which was thwarted because of overworked faculty, political interventions, and the very erratic dial-up telecommunications system. He lectured and held workshops on proposal writing and research funding, initiated a faculty and 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 Dr. Ron’s 3 month stay he and his wife Wendy trekked in the Semien Mountains and climbed the 5th highest mountain in Africa, Bwahit, whose summit rises to 4,430 meters, or 14, 619 feet.
Dr. Ron continues his 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.
In the years 2000 - 2004 at selected intervals Dr. Ron was the ethnographer for the Youth Opportunity (YO) Program 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. A large portion of the money was directed toward motivating youth to stay in school, training youth for meaningful work that could enhance their self image, and educating youth on issues of substance abuse and the transmission of STD's. To gain insight into the local Black culture Dr. Ron hung out with youth on the streets, conducted focus group discussions at selected public schools and community centers, talked with men and women on City Council, the police, businesspeople, social workers, teachers, and doctors serving the local community.