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Ruth Hill

Professor, Spanish and Portuguese
Andrew W. Mellon Chair in the Humanities

Research Interests: Professor Hill’s research and teaching frequently adopt a longue durée approach in order to understand ruptures as well as continuities in social and intellectual concepts, practices, and the ways in which we talk about them. She has written pioneering studies and essays in the history of science and the history of race in the Spanish world. Her current book, Reckoning with Race in the New World, shall appear in the Writing the Early Americas series published by the University of Virginia Press. It tackles the trans-Atlantic and trans-American origins and development of human racial categories, finding their scientific roots in animal and plant breeding practices and their religious roots in disputes over mixed-race persons, in moral theology and canon law, triggered by interracial unions from the sixteenth century forward. Her next book, on which she has lectured widely since 2005, is a study of Aryanism and white supremacist movements in North and South America, across several disciplines (geology, anthropology, eugenics, museum studies, paleontology, linguistics, literature, and law), in the period spanning from 1850 to the present. It is tentatively titled, Incas, Aztecs, and Other White Men.