Shepard Krech III
Anthropology and Environmental Studies
Phone 2: 863-3251
Ph.D. Harvard U 1974
Shepard Krech III conducts research on the intersections of humans and the natural world; anthropology and history, and material culture and the development of museums. Current projects are on time in indigenous cultures, bird-human interactions, and environmental knowledge. All research and writing is informed by ethnography in and a general geographical focus on native North America.
Born in New York City, educated at Yale (B.A.), Oxford (B.Litt.) and Harvard (Ph.D.), Shepard Krech III is professor of anthropology and environmental studies, and director of the Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology, at Brown University. He has received major fellowships and grants from the National Humanities Center (twice), Woodrow Wilson International Center, NEH, Canadian Embassy, and Wenner-Gren Foundation. He has written over 150 essays and reviews, lectured widely, and is the author or editor of 11 books and monographs, including Praise the Bridge That Carries You Over; Indians, Animals and the Fur Trade; A Victorian Earl in the Arctic; The Subarctic Fur Trade; Collecting Native America, 1870-1960; The Ecological Indian (1999); Encyclopedia of World Environmental History (ed. with J. R. McNeill and C. Merchant, 2004), Spirits of the Air (2009); and Indigenous Environments (MS ed. with David Gordon).
The Ecological Indian: Myth and History (W. W. Norton, 1999) was discussed on radio coast-to-coast and reviewed or featured in over 100 publications in more than one dozen languages, including The New Yorker, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, The New Republic, New York Review of Books, Times Literary Supplement [TLS], Chronicle of Higher Education, Times Higher Education Supplement, Der Spiegel, NRC Handelsblad, and others. Reviewers remark that the book "teaches us everything we have wanted to know about American Indians and the environment" (New York Times), is "ground-breaking and myth-busting" (Wisconsin Public Radio), and "is what good science should be" (Detroit News). The book was the subject of a session at the annual meeting of the Modern Language Association, a conference in Laramie, Wyoming, and the edited collection, Native Americans and the Environment (eds. M. Harkin and D. R. Lewis [U. Nebraska Press]).
Critics refer to the three-volume Encyclopedia of World Environmental History (Routledge, 2004) as edited with "great insight and skill" (James G. Speth) and "the most ambitious effort yet to offer a comprehensive overview of the long-term history of human interactions with the natural world on a truly planetary scale" (William Cronon).
Early comments from anthropology and environmental history on Spirits of the Air (University of Georgia Press, 2009) include "superbly researched and splendidly illustrated" (Raymond Fogelson), "insightful" (Carolyn Merchant), and "exhaustive" (Charles Hudson); and from ornithology and the professional birding world a "landmark work" (Kenn Kaufman) and "thought-provoking." (Donald and Lillian Stokes).
Shepard Krech III is past-president (2004-05) of the American Society for Ethnohistory and a trustee of the National Humanities Center. A lifelong birder and environmentalist, he lives in Washington, D.C. and Sedgwick, Maine.