Lisa James Goldsberry (518) 437-4989
ALBANY, N.Y. (May 15, 2003) -- University
at Albany linguistic anthropologist John S. Justeson has
been named a Guggenheim
Fellow for 2003. He is one of 184 scholars, scientists and
artists cited for the prestigious honor from a North American
candidate pool of more than 3,200.
Justeson will use the
$35,000 award to research and write a book on the decipherment
of epi-Olmec hieroglyphic writing, co-authored with the University of Pittsburghís
Terence Kaufman. The epi-Olmecs were an ancient civilization that inhabited the
Gulf Coast of southern Mexico from 300 B.C. to A.D. 550. This book is one of
a two-volume set; a second book will be authored by Kaufman on the history of
languages of the Olmecs. The books cap years of research deciphering epi-Olmec
script, which was made possible by the 1986 recovery, by the Museum of Anthropology
of the University of Veracruz, of a four-ton rock slab that contained a long
text written in the little-known epi-Olmec writing system. The language of this
text was subsequently identified by Justeson and Kaufman as an ancestor of several
indigenous languages of Mexico.
Justesonís research areas include historical
linguistics, language and prehistory, writing systems, and
Mesoamerican languages and hieroglyphic writing. He is involved
in comparative research on writing systems, case studies on particular languages
and scripts, and computational linguistic research using multi-million-word text
Justeson, who has been on the UAlbany faculty since 1990, received his Ph.D.
in Anthropology from Stanford University in 1978 and a masterís in Computer Science,
focusing on computational linguistics, from Stanford in 1988. He has published
widely on the languages of ancient cultures.
"John Justeson's Guggenheim Fellowship is a well-deserved recognition of
his outstanding research and scholarship," said UAlbany President Karen
R. Hitchcock. "He is widely respected by his peers for the exceptional quality
and originality of his research. His seminal scholarship has advanced his discipline
and has contributed in a major way to the excellent environment for learning
and discovery which defines UAlbany."
Guggenheim Fellowships are distributed by the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial
Foundation, founded in 1925 by former United States Senator and Mrs. Simon
Guggenheim in memory of their son John Simon Guggenheim, who died April 26,
1925, the Foundation has granted some $220 million in Fellowships to more than
Fellows are appointed to six- to twelve-month
terms on the basis of distinguished achievement in the past
and exceptional promise for
The program is intended to help provide Fellows with blocks of time in which
can work with as much creative freedom as possible. Grants are made freely;
no special conditions attach to them, and Fellows may spend their grant funds
any manner they deem necessary to their work. The new Fellows include writers,
painters, sculptors, photographers, film makers, choreographers, physical
and biological scientists, social scientists, and scholars
in the humanities. Many
of these individuals hold appointments in colleges and universities, with
89 institutions being represented by one or more Fellows.
A number of those named
have no academic affiliation.
For a full list of 2003 Fellows, visit www.gf.org <http://www.gf.org>.