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May 2, 2013

Obituary: Hugo Nutini

NutiniUniversity Professsor Hugo G. Nutini, a professor of cultural anthropology here for nearly a half-century, died April 19, 2013, following a lengthy illness. He was 84.

A sociocultural anthropologist, Nutini’s life’s work focused on Mexico. He was passionate about his work and teaching, and prolific in his writing — including 16 comprehensive books written in both Spanish and English.

At 18, Nutini received a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from the Chilean Naval Academy.

An accomplished runner, he was a member of Chile’s track team, winning medals at international competitions.

Nutini attended UCLA to study philosophy, where he continued to excel in track and field while earning a second bachelor’s degree in 1955.

He served in the U.S. Armed Forces in the Far East, then returned to UCLA where he completed an MA in philosophy in 1958. He had completed half of his doctoral dissertation when he switched disciplines to anthropology, receiving his PhD in anthropology from UCLA in 1962.

Prior to joining the Pitt faculty, Nutini taught at Los Angeles State College, the University of Southern California, the University of Puerto Rico and George Washington University.

Nutini joined the Center for Latin American Studies and Pitt’s anthropology department in 1963. He was named an associate professor in 1969, a professor in 1974 and a University Professor in 1986.

He served as a visiting professor at several universities and delivered invited lectures on a wide variety of subjects such as Mesoamerican ethnology, ethnohistory, religion, witchcraft and sorcery and ritual kinship.

He made annual fieldwork trips to the Tlaxcala region of Mexico. He also directed field stations in Mexico for the training of anthropology graduate students.

Nutini was known for being generous in sharing his knowledge. Former student Rolando Armando Alum said: “Hugo’s life history demonstrates a contagious passion for mentoring, meticulous scholarship and the Mexican people whose society he has been examining for 54 years.”

Nutini is survived by his wife of 44 years, Jean Forbes Nutini; sons Jean-Pierre, Christian and Alexis; grandchildren Christian, Aleksander, Kai and Desi, and great-grandchildren Nadia, Ethan, Christian and Monique.

A memorial service was held in Fortin de las Flores, Veracruz, Mexico, where Nutini spent his final days. A memorial service is being planned in Pittsburgh.

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