Nancy Jacobs

Nancy Jacobs

Professor of History, Brown University
Spring 2023: Hutchins Family Fellow
Nancy Jacobs

Nancy Jacobs is Professor of History at Brown University and an elected fellow of the Institute at Brown for Environment and Society (IBES). She currently serves as Vice President/President Elect of the American Society for Environmental History.

For the fellowship project, Jacobs will be at work on a book project, “The Global Grey Parrot,” which puts a charismatic African animal at the center of world history. Biological and historical research as well as fieldwork has revealed a fraught interspecies politics. The history begins in African forests before 1500 and then expands to other continents. It concludes in the Anthropocene, as parrots are bred in agro-industrial facilities, trafficked as commodities, and increasingly consigned to human spaces. This environmental and economic history also explores cognition and affect. As historical actors, parrots were making worlds all along. Recognizing this, humans can be better companions.