School of Humanities and Sciences
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Bing Professor in Human Biology, Emeritus
BioWilliam (Bill) Durham is Bing Professor in Human Biology, Bass University Fellow in Undergraduate Education, and a Senior Fellow in the Woods Institute for the Environment at Stanford. He has taught in Human Biology and Anthropology at Stanford since 1977, when he came from the Society of Fellows at the University of Michigan.
Today, Bill's main interests are environmental anthropology, the “coevolution” of genetic and cultural change in human populations, and the challenges of sustainable development in the tropics, especially Galapagos, Peru, and Costa Rica. Along with Stanford Professor Rodolfo Dirzo, Bill is co-director of the Osa-Golfito Initiative (INOGO) in the Woods Institute, working with Costa Ricans to develop a sustainability strategy for the southern region of the country.
Bill’s publications include the books Scarcity and Survival in Central America (Stanford Press 1979; and in Spanish, by UCA Editores 1988), Coevolution: Genes, Culture, and Human Diversity (Stanford Press, 1991), The Social Causes of Environmental Destruction in Latin America (U. of Michigan Press, 1995, with M. Painter), Inbreeding, Incest and the Incest Taboo (Stanford Press 2004, with A. Wolf), and Ecotourism and Conservation in the Americas (CABI, 2008, with A. Stronza). In addition, he served as Editor in Chief for 16 volumes of the Annual Review of Anthropology between 1992 and 2008.
A recipient of the MacArthur Prize Fellowship, Bill has also received five awards for teaching and faculty leadership at Stanford. He was Founding Co-Director of the Center for Responsible Travel (CREST), a research organization that views tourism as a means to promote local livelihoods and environmental conservation. He has led more than 25 Stanford Alumni Association trips to Galapagos, the Amazon, East Africa, and elsewhere.