Anthropologist Receives Prestigious Viking Fund Medal

May 20, 2004
Photo: John Sheretz
Photo: John Sheretz

Jane Hill, Regents' Professor of anthropology and linguistics at the University of Arizona, has been awarded the Viking Fund Medal by the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research.

The Viking Fund Medal is recognize globally as among the highest recognitions accorded to anthropologists. The venerable archaeologist Emil W. Haury, who headed the UA anthropology department and was director of the Arizona State Museum from 1937 to 1964, received the Viking Fund Medal in 1950.

The foundation suspended the award from 1972 until last year. The award includes a gold medallion and a $25,000 cash award.

According to the Wenner-Gren website, "The Viking Fund Medal is given each year to an anthropologist who has achieved real breakthroughs in scholarship, mentored distinguished new researchers, created novel professional institutions, developed new curricula, or some combination of these qualities."

The Wenner-Gren Foundation stated in their announcement of the award, "Professor Hill has made innovative contributions to several areas of research in anthropology, including the historical linguistics of the Uto-Aztecan language family, language contact and multilingualism in the U.S. Southwest and Mexico, and the way in which popular ideas shape the uses of language in communities in the Southwest, especially in the construction of white racism.

"Her dedication to nurturing anthropology is reflected in Professor Hill's service as president of the American Anthropological Association, the Society for Linguistic Anthropology and the Society for the Study of the Indigenous Languages of the Americas. She has benefited many organizations in anthropology, including the Wenner-Gren Foundation, the Linguistic Society of America and the American Anthropological Association, through painstaking service on important committees. Professor Hill's honors include election to the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. The foundation is most happy to recognize these extraordinary accomplishments and to aid Professor Hill in her future work by awarding her its medal and prize."

Hill, who is currently on sabbatical leave at the Center for Advanced Study in Behavioral Sciences, will receive her award at a reception in New York on October 15.