Robert Thorson

Professor, Anthropology and Ecology &

Evolutionary Biology


Robert Thorson is Professor of Geoscience and Head of the Department of Geoscience (Interim) at the University of Connecticut where he juggles teaching, research, mentoring, and committee work. His main teaching responsibilities are to the Department of Geosciences, and to three courses in the Honors Core Curriculum: AMST 1700 (Walden and the American Landscape) with history colleague Christopher Clark, GSCI 1055 (Geoscience and the American Landscape) to introductory geoscience students with an interest in history and literature, and GSCI 1000E  The Human Epoch: Living in the Anthropocene to students mainly interested in environmental studies.

His latest book — The Guide to Walden Pond (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2018) is the first book-length guide to the epicenter of America’s environmental consciousness.  It follows The Boatman: Henry David Thoreau’s River Years (Harvard, 2017) and Walden’s Shore: Henry David Thoreau and Nineteenth-Century Science (Harvard, 2014), his diptych re-assessment of Thoreau’s legacy as a natural scientist.  These three books, combined his his previous four, provide a sample of his contribution to American Studies and Environmental Studies. For fifteen years he was a part-time journalist, a regular opinion columnist for The Hartford Courant with a beat in environmental and educational policy, and now writes book reviews for The Wall Street Journal and the Journal of Environmental History.   Finally, he coordinates the Stone Wall Initiative for the Connecticut State Museum of Natural History.

A native Midwesterner with Scandinavian-American sodbuster roots, he moved to New England from Alaska in 1984. Away from work, he’s a father, son, husband, and solitary soul whose principal hobbies involve Nature, reading, cooking and public television.

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Robert Thorson
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Emailrobert.thorson@uconn.edu