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Thomas Gibson

Arts, Sciences, and Engineering

Department of Anthropology

Areas of expertise: Philippines, Indonesia, Southeast Asia, Indian Ocean; Indigenous religions, Transnational Islamic movements, post-colonial nationalism

Press contact:
Monique Patenaude
(585) 276-3693

Related Links:
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Professor Gibson has carried out fieldwork in the Philippines (1979-81, 1985) and Indonesia (1988, 1989, 2000, 2006) and has conducted archival research in the United Kingdom (1981-1985) and the Netherlands (1994). His primary area of interest is the relationship between political authority and the religions of Island Southeast Asia, including animism, Christianity, and Islam. More recently, his research interests have expanded to include the study of transnational religious and political movements throughout the Indian Ocean basin, home to about one third of the world’s population. Under the auspices of the Mellon Foundation Humanities Corridor program, he is organizing a conference on Religion & Culture in the Indian Ocean, 18th Century to the Present at Cornell University in October 2008.

Professor Gibson’s research on the Philippines was published in a monograph, Sacrifice and Sharing in the Philippine Highlands: Religion and Society among the Buid of MindoroI (Athlone). His work on Indonesia has appeared in two monographs to date, And the Sun Pursued the Moon: Symbolic Knowledge and Traditional Authority among the Makassar (Hawaii), and Islamic Narrative and Authority in Southeast Asia from the 16th to the 21st Century (Palgrave). A third volume on Ritual Knowledge and Islamic Social Movements is currently being prepared with the support of an ACLS/SSRC/NEH International and Area Studies Senior Fellowship.