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Kirk French

Anthropologist - Filmmaker - Educator

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Kirk French is an award-winning professor of anthropology and Emmy-nominated filmmaker at Penn State University.


At Penn State he developed the Anthropology of Alcohol (aka Booze and Culture), now the largest anthropology class in the United States with over 700 students enrolled each semester. The success of the course and the impact it has had on the more than 7000 students who have successfully completed it led to French being honored with the George W. Atherton Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2020.


In 2010, Kirk co-developed and hosted the Discovery Channel series, American Treasures. He recently finished his first feature length documentary, Land and Water Revisited, which was nominated for an Emmy, took home several awards from international film festivals, and is currently available for streaming on PBS. He is currently working on his second film, A Century After Nanook.


Kirk lives in an 1860 home in Pine Grove Mills, Pennsylvania with his wife Laurel, daughter Viola, a damn good dog, two weird cats, a few chickens that rarely lay, and a fish. And for research purposes only, French converted the home’s summer kitchen into Texas Bar, where Lone Star is always on tap and Live at the Old Quarter and Tres Hombres are usually playing on the turntable.

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