Harald Prins

Harald E. L. Prins (born 1951) is a Dutch anthropologist, ethnohistorian, filmmaker, and human rights activist specialized in North and South America's indigenous peoples and cultures.

Dr. Harald E.L. Prins
Born Sept 7, 1951
Alphen aan den Rijn, Netherlands
Residence United States
Nationality Netherlands
Fields Cultural Anthropology, Ethnohistory, Visual Anthropology
Institutions Kansas State University
Alma mater Radboud University, Netherlands; New School for Social Research, New York
Doctoral advisors Eric R. Wolf, Michael J. Harner, Anton Blok
Known for Native American tribal status recognition, hunting and fishing rights, land claims; visual anthropology; cultural anthropology textbook
Notable awards Kansas Professor of the year ’06, Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching; Presidential Award for Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching ’99; John Culkin Award for Outstanding Praxis in the Field of Media Ecology ‘04, Oxford University Press Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching of Anthropology, American Anthropological Association ’10.


Harald Prins was born in the Netherlands and is a University Distinguished Professor of anthropology at Kansas State University.

Academically trained at various universities in the Netherlands, where he studied prehistoric archaeology, history, and cultural anthropology, among others under Anton Weiler, Albert Trouwborst, Anton Blok, and Ton Lemaire, he completed his doctoraal at the Radboud University Nijmegen (1976). After two years as an assistant professor in theoretical history at its graduate program, he came to New York City under the auspices of the Netherlands-America Institute in 1978. As a Vera List Fellow at the Graduate Faculty of Social and Political Science, the New School for Social Research (1978–1979), he studied anthropology under Eric Wolf, Michael Harner, Edmund Snow Carpenter and others. In addition, he received formal training in advanced 16mm film-making in NYC (1979–1980).

Although he has also done research among half a dozen other indigenous nations in North and South America, he is primarily known for his ethnographic and historic research on Wabanaki Indian peoples and cultures, in particular the Mi'kmaq (or Micmac). After ethnographic fieldwork in La Pampa Province, Argentina (1980–1981), he merged the theoretical perspectives of cultural ecology and political economy into a concept of political ecology. During a decade of advocacy anthropology among Maine Indians as Director of Research and Development for the Association of Aroostook Indians (1981–1982), and as tribal anthropologist for the Aroostook Band of Micmacs (1982–1990), he was instrumental in helping this impoverished and landless indigenous community win federal recognition of its tribal status and a 5,000-acre (20 km2) landbase in northern Maine. He also served as Expert Witness on native rights in the US Senate (1989) and in several Canadian courts (1996, 2000), and was an international observer in the presidential elections of Paraguay (1993).

Author of numerous publications in eight languages, including books and edited volumes, he is also international award-winning documentary filmmaker. He was visual anthropology editor for American Anthropologist (1998–2002), and served as president of the Society of Visual Anthropology (1999–2001).

Having previously taught at Radboud University Nijmegen, Bowdoin College, Colby College, and the University of Maine, he has won numerous outstanding teaching awards at Kansas State U., including the 1993 Conoco Award, the 1999 Presidential Award, and the 2004 Coffman Chair of Distinguished Teaching Scholars. In 2005, he was appointed University Distinguished Professor, the highest academic rank. A year later, the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching selected him as Kansas Professor of the Year. Most recently, he taught as Guest Professor of Social Anthropology at Lund University in Sweden (2010). The American Anthropological Association honored him with the 2010 AAA/Oxford University Press Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching. Since 2008, he is also a Research Associate at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC.

Son of Dutch maritime anthropologist A. H. J. Prins [1] and godson of Kikuyu and Swahili specialist Harold E. Lambert, Senior District Commissioner in British colonial Kenya, he is married to American author and journalist Bunny McBride.


Documentary films

External links


  1. For biographic essay on A.H.J. Prins as a maritime anthropologist, see “From Tropical Africa to Arctic Scandinavia: A. H. J. Prins as Maritime Anthropologist.” In: Circumpolar Studies 2: 21-28. http://arts.eldoc.ub.rug.nl/FILES/publications/general/archarctic/2005/Topjevdijs/04.pdf
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