Leiden University has announced the intent to confer an honorary doctorate on Professor of Anthropology Rosemary Joyce. The degree will be awarded on February 8, 2022 at the university's Dies Natalis, the celebration of its 447th year since it was founded in 1575 as the first university in that country.
The Rector Magnificus of the university, Professor Hester Bijl, wrote that the doctorate was awarded in recognition of Professor Joyce's "outstanding research into the ancient civilizations of Mesoamerica and Mexico", particularly how "expressions of culture and heritage have been used to consolidate positions in society". The award also recognizes continuous efforts to involve communities affected by research, evident especially in long-term engagements with museums and local communities in Honduras, the country about which Professor Joyce has conducted research since she was an undergraduate.
The award recognizes the ways that Professor Joyce's research and community-engaged scholarship align with the university's mission and the theme of the 2022 founding celebration, "Innovating and connecting", and the university's mission to link science and social goals, writing that "Innovating and connecting are also clearly manifested in the research carried out by Rosemary Joyce through the combination of scientific fields and the clear connection she makes between her findings and developments in society".
Leiden University made the decision to confer the degree based on the recommendation of the Deans of its Faculties of Archaeology and Social and Behavioural Sciences, recognizing Professor Joyce's contributions as an archaeologist and an anthropologist, and the degree will be jointly conferred by representatives of these two faculties, Maarten Jansen, Emeritus Professor of Archaeology and Ethnohistory of Central America, and Marja Spierenburg, Professor of Anthropology of Sustainability.
Rosemary Joyce received her PhD in anthropology from the University of Illinois-Urbana in 1985. A curator and faculty member in anthropology at Harvard University from 1985 to 1994, she moved to Berkeley in 1994, serving as Director of the Hearst Museum of Anthropology until 1999. She has been the Distinguished Lecturer of the Archaeology Division of the American Anthropological Association, the Distinguished Archaeology Lecturer at the University of Colorado Boulder, a Fulbright Senior Scholar at the Universidad de Costa Rica, and an Astor Visiting Lecturer at Oxford University, is a past fellow of the Bunting Institute at Radcliffe, the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford, and the University of California Humanities Research Institute, and a recipient of a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship. Author of 10 monographs and editor of 9 volumes, her most recent books are Painted Pottery From Honduras: Object Itineraries and Lives (2017), Material Relations: The Marriage Figurines of Prehispanic Honduras (2014), and A Past for Nuclear Waste (2020). While collaborating in research on the Palenque archaeological site in the western Maya area, a collaborative project with Mexican colleagues funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities, she continues research on Honduran collections in museums and archives, including co-directing a project funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities to provide online searching for the colonial archive of Central America.
Professor Joyce will join a distinguished group of previous recipients of this honor since the first honorary doctorates were awarded in 1835 that includes only a few other archaeologists: Lewis Binford (2000), Ian Hodder (2011) and Bhagwan Lal Indraji (1884). Other notable recipients include the author A. S. Byatt (2010), Nelson Mandela (1999), Fernand Braudel (1975), Robert Merton (1965), E. M. Forster (1954), Winston Churchill (1946) and Charles Darwin (1875).