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Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Social Work

Harald E.L. Prins, PhD

prinsDistinguished Professor of Anthropology
University Distinguished Teaching Scholar

SASW, 207 Waters Hall
Kansas State University
Manhattan, KS 66506
Phone/Fax Office: 785-532-4966/6978;
Home: 785-776-3876
Email: prins@ksu.edu

Born and raised in the Netherlands, Harald E.L. Prins was trained in anthropology, archaeology, and comparative history at various universities in the Netherlands and the United States. After earning his doctoraal degree from the University of Nijmegen ('76), he received his PhD from the Graduate Faculty of Political and Social Sciences at the New School for Social Research ('88). An advocacy anthropologist whose scholarly research is closely tied to his human rights work with indigenous peoples, he has done extensive fieldwork in South America (Pampa & Gran Chaco) and North America (in particular New England, Canadian Maritimes, and southern Plains). He is a son of Dutch maritime anthropologist and East-Africanist Dr. A.H.J. Prins (1921-2000), and the godson of H.E. Lambert (1893-1967), a Swahili linguist and Kikuyu specialist in Kenya.

Appointed University Distinguished Professor of Anthropology at Kansas State University in 2005, Harald Prins has been recognized for teaching, research and academic leadership. The Carnegie Foundation's Council for the Advancement and Support of Education honored him as the 2006 State Professor of the Year for Kansas. Most recently, he received the American Anthropological Association/Oxford University Press Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching of anthropology (’10). Elected president of the Society for Visual Anthropology ('99-01) and holding the post of visual anthropology editor for the American Anthropologist ('98-02), he has presented several distinguished lectures and keynote addresses. Recipient of numerous grants and fellowships, and winner of his university's most prestigious teaching honors, including the Conoco Award ('93) and Presidential Award ('99), he held the Coffman Chair for University Distinguished Teaching Scholars ('04-‘05).

Publications include almost 120 scholarly books, refereed and non-refereed articles, encyclopedia entries, and academic press and other book chapters, as well as over 45 book & film reviews, in eight languages. Moreover, Prins presented about 90 major professional conference papers and presentations, including keynote and distinguished lectures, commencement addresses in the U.S. and Europe. He serves on the editorial boards of several academic journals and has provided peer reviews for 21 journals, 20 publishers, as well as the National Science Foundation, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, National Humanities Center, U.S. Dept. of the Interior, US Dept. of Health & Human Services, &c.

 Much of Dr. Prins' writing focuses on Northeast America's Indian cultures and history, in particular Wabanaki (Micmac/Mi'kmaq, Maliseet, Passamaquoddy, Penobscot, and Abenaki). He authored The Mi'kmaq: Resistance, Accommodation and Cultural Survival (Harcourt Brace '96) and Tribulations of a Border Tribe (UMI '88), and co-edited American Beginnings: Exploration, Culture, and Cartography in the Land of Norumbega (U Nebraska Press '94). He also co-edited several special journal issues, including The Origins of Visual Anthropology: North American Contributions ('02) and co-authored four major introductory textbooks in multiple editions: Cultural Anthropology: The Human Challenge (13th ed.) and Evolution and Prehistory: The Human Challenge (9th ed.) as well as the combined volume Anthropology: The Human Challenge (13th ed.) and The Essence of Anthropology (3rd ed.), all published by Wadsworth/Cengage Learning. In 2007, he and his wife Bunny McBride authored a two-volume report for the National Park Service, titled Asticou's Island Domain: Wabanaki Peoples at Mount Desert Island, 1500-2000, followed by their book Indians in Eden: Wabanakis and Rusticators on Maine’s Mount Desert Island: 1840s-1920s (’09). Currently, they are co-authoring another book, titled From Indian Island to Omaha Beach: The Story of Charles Shay, Penobscot Indian War Hero (’12) and he is co-editing a book on shamanism.

 Professionally trained in 16-mm filmmaking, Harald Prins has juried documentary film festivals and consulted on several documentary films. He co-produced Our Lives in Our Hands, a documentary on Mi'kmaq basketmakers (D.E.R. '86), which premiered at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, aired on Public Television and was screened at numerous film festivals and museums in the US and abroad. He also served as key research advisor for Wabanaki: A New Dawn (N.E.H. Film '96), and co-produced the international award-winning film on visual anthropologist Edmund Carpenter, Oh, What a Blow that Phantom Gave Me! (D.E.R. '03), screened at many international ethnographic film festivals.

 Work with indigenous communities includes a decade as primary researcher and political advisor for the Aroostook Band of Micmacs (Maine) in their successful land claims and federal recognition struggle. In 1990 Dr. Prins testified on their behalf in US Congressional hearings, resulting in legislation providing a settlement that met their goals. Since then he has maintained an active working relationship with the tribe. In 1993 he served as an International Observer during Paraguay's landmark presidential elections. That same year he began collaborating with Plains Apache in Oklahoma on a long-term visual documentation project. Among other shared endeavors with various tribal groups, he formed part of the aboriginal rights team of Miawpukek First Nation (Conne River, Newfoundland). He has served as expert witness in Newfoundland's Supreme Court (2000), and other legal venues.

 Before joining KSU's Anthropology Program in 1990, Harald Prins taught at Bowdoin College, Colby College, University of Maine, and University of Nijmegen (Netherlands). Among other courses, he has taught Native Rights, Anthropological Theory, Ethnographic Film, Violent Conflict, Introduction to Cultural Anthropology, and the Ethnography of Indigenous North and South America. He is a member of KSU's American Ethnic Studies Faculty and served as faculty advisor for the university's American Indian student associations for a decade. As a member of its Graduate Faculty since 1990, he also served on numerous doctoral committees, advisory panels and governance boards.

 He was co-Principal Investigator (with his wife Bunny McBride) for a National Parks Project on indigenous historical ecology on seacoast Maine, and guest co-curator for an exhibit Wabanakis and Rusticators at Mt Desert Island, 1850s-1920s at the Abbe Museum, Bar Harbor, Maine. Frequently interviewed for television, radio, and print media and a multiple-year honoree in Who's Who in America, he was also Guest Professor of Anthropology at Lund University in Sweden (2010) and a Research Associate at the Smithsonian Institution (’08-’11).