Nicholas Thomas

Professor Nicholas Thomas

  • Post Nominals: FAHA, FBA
  • Fellow Type: Corresponding Fellow
  • Elected to the Academy: 1997


Nicholas Thomas, who has been Director of Cambridge University’s Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology since 2006, is an anthropologist and historian. He was the Inaugural Director, Centre for Cross-Cultural Research (CCR) at the Australian National University. He visited the Pacific Islands first in 1984 to research his PhD thesis on the Marquesas Islands, later worked in Fiji and New Zealand, as well as in many archives and museum collections in Europe, north America, and the Pacific itself.

His books include Entangled Objects (1991), Oceanic Art (1995), Discoveries: The Voyages of Captain Cook (2003), and Islanders: the Pacific in the Age of Empire (2010), which was awarded the Wolfson History Prize.

He has collaborated with artists including painter John Pule and photographer Mark Adams on projects exploring cross-cultural art histories in the Pacific and curated exhibitions for many museums and art galleries in Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom . He is currently a member of the Conseil d’orientation scientifique of the Musà e du Quai Branly in Paris and the International Advisory Board of the Humboldt-Forum in Berlin.

Acknowledgement of Country

The Australian Academy of the Humanities recognises Australia’s First Nations Peoples as the traditional owners and custodians of this land, and their continuous connection to country, community and culture.