Prof. dr. Nicholas Thomas

Nicholas Thomas was an undergraduate at the Australian National University from 1979 to 1982; his BA (Honours) thesis, on Fijian politics, was supervised by Anthony Forge. He visited the Pacific first in 1984 to undertake doctoral research in the Marquesas Islands and has since written extensively on exploration and cross-cultural encounters and on art histories in the Pacific. He has been Director of the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology in Cambridge since 2006.

Key publications:

2016, (with Maia Nuku, Julie Adams, Billie Lythberg and Amiria Salmond) Artefacts of Encounter: Cook’s Voyages, Colonial Collecting and Museum Histories. Otago: Otago University Press.

2016, The return of curiosity: what museums are good for in the twenty first century. London: Reaktion / Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

2012, (with Peter Brunt, Sean Mallon, Lissant Bolton, Deidre Brown, Damian Skinner and Susanne Kuechler) Art in Oceania: a new history. London: Thames and Hudson / New Haven: Yale University Press. Awarded the Art Book Prize


Books by Nicholas Thomas

Style and Meaning

Essays on the anthropology of art

Anthony Forge (edited by Alison Clark and Nicholas Thomas) | 2017

Anthropology’s engagement with art has a complex and uneven history. While material culture, ‘decorative art’, and art styles were of major significance for founding figures...








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