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Anthropologist awarded Fulbright Lectureship in US

A University of Waikato anthropologist has been awarded a 2007 Fulbright Visiting Lectureship to teach in the United States.

Dr Tom Ryan, a senior lecturer in anthropology in the Department of Societies and Cultures, is one of two New Zealand academics who will teach courses in New Zealand Studies at Georgetown University in Washington DC. He will be based in the University’s Centre for Australian and New Zealand Studies (CANZ), and will also pursue his own research in the nearby Smithsonian Institution and Library of Congress.

Dr Ryan’s course, ‘An Imagined Community? New Zealand and the Pacific Islands,’ will cover the historical, cultural and political contexts and relationships within which New Zealand has, in recent decades, redefined itself as a 'Pacific nation.’ This reflects his long-term research work on Niue, and his interest in Pacific affairs generally.

A widely-published scholar, Dr Ryan previously has held visiting academic positions in France, Australia and Hawaii. He will be following in the footsteps of several renowned New Zealand academics who have also taught at CANZ, including James Belich, Michael King and Bill Manhire.

Dr Ryan is looking forward to staying in Georgetown from January to June 2007. It will be an opportunity to relive memories of his only other visit to the city, in 1969 while he was on an AFS exchange in California.

"The last place I visited that year was Washington, DC, where on the morning after the first-ever moon landing Richard Nixon spoke on the White House lawn to me and 3,000 other foreign students,” Dr Ryan said.

Dr Ryan afterwards met President Nixon, who told him of having served during World War II in the Solomon Islands alongside New Zealand’s Third Division (which included Dr Ryan’s father), and of his visit to New Zealand while Vice-President in 1953, a highlight of which was “travelling to the Waikato to meet the Māori King.”


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