MacArthur Fellows Program

William Cronon

Environmental Historian | Class of 1985

Environmental Historian
New Haven, Connecticut
31 at time of award
Area of Focus
Environmental History
Published July 1, 1985

About William's Work

William Cronon studies American environmental history and the history of the American West.

His research is concerned with how human communities modify the landscapes in which they live and in turn are affected by changing geological, climatological, epidemiological, and ecological conditions.  His first book, Changes in the Land: Indians, Colonists, and the Ecology of New England (1983, rev. ed., 2003), is a study of the New England landscape.  In Nature’s Metropolis: Chicago and the Great West (1991), he examines Chicago’s relationship to its rural hinterland during the second half of the nineteenth century.  Cronon is also co-editor and author of Under an Open Sky: Rethinking America’s Western Past (1992) and author and editor of Uncommon Ground: Rethinking the Human Place in Nature (1995).  He is working on a social and environmental history of Portage, Wisconsin.


Cronon is the Frederick Jackson Turner and Vilas Research Professor of History, Geography, and Environmental Studies at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.  He also served as president of the American Society for Environmental History (1989-93).

Cronon received a B.A. (1976) from the University of Wisconsin.  He received an M.A. (1979), an M.Phil. (1980) and Ph.D. (1990) from Yale University, and a D.Phil. (1981) from the University of Oxford.

Last updated January 1, 2005.

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