Tobias Sperlich

Associate Professor; Associate Dean (Undergraduate)
DPhil (University of Oxford)

Office: CL 411
Phone: 306-585-4137

Current classes
Spring/Summer 2023 - ANTH 100-397

Research interests

  • Polynesia (esp. Samoa, New Zealand)
  • Museum Ethnography
  • Community Museums in Saskatchewan
  • History of Anthropology
  • Anthropology of Art
  • Material Culture
  • Tourism

I have conducted ethnographic research in Oceania since 2001. My work focuses on the uses of material culture, art, and photography from Samoa (and Polynesia in general) in museums in the West.  I am particularly interested in the changing meanings of objects and images as they move from indigenous Polynesian to Western systems of knowledge and interpretation.

More recently, I have started to carry out research in small town museums in settler communities in southern Saskatchewan.  Here my interest lies in the role of First Nations material culture plays within these museum spaces and how their presence can help disrupt ongoing discursive (re)productions Saskatchewan's colonial legacy.

I teach courses on the Ethnology of Polynesia, Anthropology of Art, Visual Anthropology, Material Culture and Consumption, Musem Ethnography, and Theory in Anthropology.

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