Christ Church Crest
ยป Thomas Thornton

Thomas Thornton


BA Swarthmore College
MA, PhD University of Washington

Role or Position

Senior Associate Research Fellow

Email address

Academic Background

My academic training is in social and cultural anthropology. Before coming to Oxford in 2008, I taught at Portland State University, Trinity College, Saint Lawrence University (Global Studies), the University of Alaska, and Beijing Normal University (Fulbright Lectureship). I also worked in government as an environmental resource specialist and as a consultant to Native American tribes.

I am currently Senior Research Fellow at the Environmental Change Institute, School of Geography and Environment and Director of the Environmental Change and Management MSc. In 2008, I was also awarded a Royal Anthropological Institute Fellowship in Urgent Anthropology.

Research Interests

My primary teaching and research interests are in human ecology, adaptation, local and traditional ecological knowledge, conservation, coastal and marine environments, conceptualizations of space and place, and the political ecology of resource management among the indigenous peoples of North America and the circumpolar North. I am currently working projects in Coastal Alaska, Canada, Fennoscandia, and Siberia on various topics, including: herring fisheries, native corporations, parks and protected areas, land use and climate change.

Publications include


Haa Léelk'w Has Aaní Saax'ú: Our Grandparents' Names on the Land. (Editor) (forthcoming in 2010 from University of Washington Press).
Being and Place among the Tlingit (University of Washington Press, 2008).
Will the Time Ever Come? A Tlingit Sourcebook. (Editor with Andrew Hope III) (ANKN, University of Alaska, 2000)
Haa Aaní: Our Land. Tlingit and Haida Land Rights and Use (Editor) (University of Washington Press, 1998).

Recent Articles and Chapters:

A Tale of Three Parks: Tlingit Conservation, Representation, and Repatriation in Southeast Alaska's National Parks (2010) Human Organization, 69(2):107-118.
Tlingit Birds: An Annotated List with a Statistical Comparative Analysis (with E.S. Hunn) (2010). In, Tidemann, S. and Gosler, A. (eds), Ethno-ornithology: Birds, Indigenous Peoples, Culture, and Society. Earthscan, pp. 181-209.
Anatomy of a Traditional Cultural Property: the Saga of Auke Cape. (2009) The George Wright Forum, 26(1): 64-75.
Alaska Native Corporations and Subsistence: Paradoxical Forces in the Construction of Sustainable Communities. (2007) In, Maida, C. (ed.) Sustainability and Communities of Place. Berghahn Books, pp. 41-62.


Squash, tennis, canoeing, hiking



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