Anthropology Professor Receives A.V. Kidder Award

By Laila Rashid, CHASS Dean’s Office Student Intern
October 1, 2012

Wendy Ashmore, professor of anthropology here at UCR, has been selected to receive the A.V. Kidder Award presented by the American Anthropological Association. Arguably the AAA’s most prestigious award in anthropological archaeology, the Kidder Award is given to an exceptional archaeologist specializing in the Americas, alternating between Mesoamerica and the American Southwest. It is awarded every two years, although previously awarded every three, making it a highly distinguished lifetime achievement.

Professor Ashmore’s interests lie in the Mesoamerican region, particularly in the ancient Maya civilization, and she has excavated at sites in Belize, Honduras, and Guatemala. Her areas of study include settlement patterns as well as the social use and understanding of space. Professor Ashmore’s passion in Mesoamerican archaeology began with her experiences while residing in Mexico as a child, and was confirmed by an inspiring professor at UCLA during her undergraduate career. When asked about some of the obstacles she faced in pursuing her anthropological passions, she discussed the difficulties of “being a woman in this traditionally men's research domain”. Today, Professor Ashmore’s dedication and perseverance could not be more apparent, considering it has been awarded to only two other women since it’s launch 62 years ago.

Despite it’s unarguable honor, Professor Ashmore is no stranger to success; she has published numerous scholarly works and contributed to many others, earned well-deserved teaching and service awards, and further enhanced the research methodology in the anthropological field. Although many mentors, colleagues, and students have influenced her work over the years, Professor Ashmore describes her husband and fellow UCR professor, Tom Patterson, as her “greatest collegial inspiration”.

Her dedicated research has led to larger studies and groundbreaking ideas in the field, particularly in the areas of household and spatial archaeology. Professor Ashmore views the award as an extremely humbling recognition of her career, as well as a reminder of the wonderful opportunities, in the U.S. and abroad, that have allowed her to follow her passion and make what she hopes to be contributions to knowledge and to those who have inspired her. She also views it as “specific encouragement for women at any life or career stage to pursue goals about which they're passionate, even or especially when it means confronting obstacles”. Professor Ashmore will be presented the award at the annual meeting of the AAA this coming November.

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