Dr Thomas Thornton

Senior Associate Research Fellow


BA Swarthmore College, MA, PhD University of Washington

Academic Background

My academic training is in social and cultural anthropology and human ecology. 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 North American tribes and First Nations.

I am currently Associate Professor and Director of the MSc in Environmental Change and Management at Oxford’s School of Geography and the Environment, and Senior Research Fellow at the Environmental Change Institute. I also hold affiliate positions in Anthropology at several universities in the US and UK.

Undergradute Teaching

Ethnobiology, Human Sciences.

Research Interests

My main research interests are in human ecology, adaptation, local and traditional ecological knowledge, ethnobiology, conservation, coastal and marine environments, conceptualisations of space and place, and the political ecology of resource management and sustainability, especially among Indigenous Peoples of the North Pacific and Circumpolar regions. In addition I have an abiding research focus on environmental change and human adaptation in the Anthropocene, both in urban and rural settings in the Americas, Europe, Africa and Asia. See www.eci.ox.ac.uk/people/tthornton.html for further information on recent research projects.

Publications include:


Haa Léelk'w Has Aaní Saax'ú: Our Grandparents' Names on the Land (Editor) (University of Washington Press, 2012)
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).

I have published numerous articles and chapters on environmental knowledge, culture, and policy among rural indigenous peoples of the Far North and, more recently, on issues of climate adaptation and sustainability among both rural peoples and urban residents in Europe, Africa, and Asia. 

See www.eci.ox.ac.uk/people/thorntontom.php for a complete list of recent publications.


Squash, tennis, canoeing, hiking