Skip to main content
uri icon

Krupnik, Igor

Chair of Anthropology and Curator of Circumpolar Ethnology


Arctic ethnology, indigenous knowledge, social systems, modern cultures; Arctic environment and climate change; cultural heritage and heritage preservation; history of Arctic/North Pacific ethnological research

Geographic Focus

Professional Biography

  • Igor Krupnik received his Ph.D. in anthropology/cultural ecology at the Institute of Ethnography in Moscow, Russia (1977) and has been active in Arctic socio-cultural and heritage research since the 1970s. He currently works as Curator of Arctic and Northern ethnology collections at the National Museum of Natural History of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC. He has conducted fieldwork in local communities in the Russian Arctic and in Alaska, especially in the Northern Bering-Sea-Bering Strait region. His main fields of interest include socio-cultural systems of northern indigenous people, community adaptation to rapid change, environmental knowledge, and heritage/knowledge preservation, 

Public Biography

  • Igor Krupnik joined the Smithsonian NMNH' Arctic Studies Center in 1991, after teaching at the University of Alaska Fairbanks and working for 14 years at the Institute of Ethnography, Russian Academy of Sciences. In 2005, he was appointed NMNH curator of Arctic and northern ethnology collections in 2005. In 1992-2002, he co-chaired (with William Fitzhugh) the "Jesup-2" international program dedicated to the centennial of the Jesup North Pacific Expedition, 1897-1902. In 2004-2010, he served as a member of the Joint Committee for the International Polar Year 2007-2008 and as lead editor of its main report volume, "Understanding Earth Polar Challenges" (2011). He was among the founding members of the International Arctic Social Sciences Association and served on its Council in 1990-1995 and in 2004-2008.