Award Winning Author, Professor and Conservationist

Stephen C. Jett, photo by Dean Barr

Stephen C. Jett (b. Cleveland, OH, 1938) holds an A.B. cum laude in Geology (Princeton 1960) and a Ph.D. in Geography (Johns Hopkins 1964).

He taught geography at The Ohio State University 1963-1964 and then at the University of California, Davis, serving thrice as Geography chair and becoming emeritus in 2000. From 1996, he was also professor of Textiles and Clothing, becoming emeritus in 2000. In addition, he has taught or co-taught courses at other institutions, and he has served on the boards of various scholarly organizations.

Jett’s major areas of scholarship include Navajo history, material culture, scenic resources, sacred places, and placenames. He wrote: Tourism in the Navajo Country: Resources and Planning (1966, Navajo Tribal Museum); award-winning Navajo Wildlands (photographs by Philip Hyde; 1967, Sierra Club, and 1969, Ballantine); House of Three Turkeys: Anasazi Redoubt (photographs by Dave Bohn; 1977, Capra); award-winning Navajo Architecture: Forms, History, Distributions (with Virginia E. Spencer; 1981, Arizona); Navajo Placenames and Trails of the Canyon de Chelly System, Arizona (2002, Peter Lang); plus hundreds of articles, book chapters, reviews, bibliographies, memorials, etc.

He has also published extensively on his second major research interest, pre-Columbian transoceanic influences between the Old World and the Americas. In 1998 he founded Pre-Columbiana: A Journal of Long-Distance Contacts, which he continues to edit. His major book Ancient Ocean Crossings: Reconsidering The Case for Contacts with the Americas before Columbus (Alabama) appeared in 2017.

Jett is also author of France (2004, Chelsea House).

He has curated or co-curated four textiles exhibits, including, in 2006, for The University of Georgia’s Georgia Museum of Art, Woven Jewels from the Black Tents: Baluchi, Aimaq, and Related Tribal Weavings of Iran, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, May 20 – July 30, 2006 (printed brochure plus CD catalogue).

Jett has been involved in various conservation and other civic activities, most notably in helping to prevent construction of dams in the Grand Canyon. He and his wife, Dr. Lisa Roberts Jett, live in the Great Valley of Virginia.

Narrative Biography