Swedish Society for Anthropology and Geography

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The Swedish Society for Anthropology and Geography (SSAG) (Swedish: Svenska Sällskapet för Antropologi och Geografi) is a scientific learned society founded in Sweden in 1877. It was established after a rearrangement of related sections of the Anthropological Society, itself formed in 1873 by Hjalmar Stolpe, Hans Hildebrand, Oscar Montelius, and Gustaf Retzius.[1]

The society functions as a link between science and the public, especially in the subjects of anthropology and geography. It awards research fellowships, organizes excursions and lectures, hands out awards such as the Vega Medal and Retzius Medal. In 1880, it began publishing the Swedish yearbook Ymer and it has published the international journal Geografiska Annaler since 1919. The journal is divided between physical geography and human geography.

Several eminent geographers and explorers such as Sven Hedin, Salomon August Andrée and Adolf Erik Nordenskiöld have been members of the association.

Awards given by the society[edit]

The society created the Vega Medal in 1881 on the occasion of Adolf Erik Nordenskiöld's return to Stockholm, after he had discovered the North East Passage. Since then, the Vega Medal has been awarded to a physical geographer roughly every three years. In the intervening years, the society awarded the Anders Retzius Medal to a human geographer or an anthropologist.[2] In 2015, however, it was decided that awarding a medal named after Retzius wasn't appropriate anymore, considering that his racial studies (that included the active collection of skulls from indigenous peoples) are met with disapproval by modern anthropologists.[3] Instead, the SSAG medal was given to Didier Fassin in 2016. The awards are handed out by the king of Sweden on 24 April, the anniversary of Nordenskiöld's return to Stockholm.

Recipients of the Vega Medal[4][edit]

Recipients of the Anders Retzius Medal in gold[4][edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Culin, Stewart (January–March 1906). "Hjalmar Stolpe". American Anthropologist. American Anthropological Association. 8 (1): 151. 
  2. ^ Helmfrid, S. (2004): Geography in Sweden. Belgeo 5 (1): p. 172.
  3. ^ Kleen, Björn af (2015-03-07). "Stopp för medalj till rasforskarens minne". Dagens Nyheter. Retrieved 2015-04-02. 
  4. ^ a b List of recipients

External links[edit]