World Cultures covers a wide range of artefacts from around the world, dating from the prehistoric to the present day. The department is organized into four sections:
Collection highlights include ancient Egyptian material, Near Eastern archaeology (including Cyprus), ancient Mediterranean glass (600 BCE–CE 600), Tibetan thangkas (17th–19th centuries), Chinese lacquer (200 BCE–c.1900), Japanese woodblock prints (1800–20th century), Persian art (18th–19th centuries), Indian sculpture (10th–20th centuries) and Indonesian textiles (18th–20th centuries). There is a wide variety of objects collected by early Scottish missionaries in central Africa, as well as significant early North Athapaskan collections from the Canadian Subarctic collected by Scottish traders. Artefacts from early exploration of the Pacific include material from Captain Cook’s voyages and the Challenger Expedition.
The Jean Jenkins Collection of sound archives highlights her pioneering work in Africa, the Middle East and India gathering examples of native music in the 20th century.
Responsible for: The Department of World Cultures, its staff, projects and collections.
Research interests: Archaeology and Critical Heritage Studies, particularly, the post-colonial and post-conflict role and practice of archaeology and heritage in eastern Africa.
Responsible for: Collections from Asia, particularly Middle Eastern and South Asian material culture.
Research interests: Collecting histories and practices, Middle Eastern and South Asian arts and crafts, identity and cultural heritage.
Responsible for: Managing the Chinese collections, including those of the Himalayan and Mongolian regions, and the Korean peninsula.
Research interests: Chinese material culture, in particular weapons of the Shang and Zhou dynasties and numismatics, as well as the history of collecting.
Responsible for: Collections from across sub-Saharan and North-east Africa.
Research interests: Textiles, clothing and adornment, especially Hausa of Northern Nigeria.
Responsible for: Head of the Mediterranean, Africa, Americas and Oceania Section, with an emphasis on the Ancient Mediterranean collections.
Research interests: Middle Kingdom Egyptian culture, especially tomb decoration, tomb models, and literature; society and identity; the history of early Egyptology.
Responsible for: Collections from Oceania and the Americas.
Research interests: Collecting histories, climate change, ethnobotany, land rights, and contemporary Oceanic art.
Responsible for: The Japanese and Ainu collections.
Research interests: Edo-period art and culture, ukiyo-e, Kitagawa Utamaro, the work of female artists, the history of collecting and collections, and issues relating to gender and sexuality.
Responsible for: The Ancient Mediterranean collections with emphasis on managing Ancient Egyptian collections.
Research interests: Ramesside Egyptian religion, texts and language. Pragmatics and Cognitive Linguistics. Early Egyptology, collectors and collecting.
Responsible for: Working with collections across the department from the Middle East and South Asia and the Ancient Mediterranean, Oceania, Americas and Africa.
Research interests: Southeast Asia; textiles; Buddhist material culture; photography; collecting histories.
Responsible for: Working with collections from the Ancient Mediterranean including Ancient Egypt, and Oceania, the Americas, and Africa.
Research interests: The migration and exchange of imagery and symbolism across cultures.
Responsible for: Supporting the work of the Curator for Japan, improving the Japanese clothing and textiles collection. Her post is funded by the Japan Foundation.
Research interests: cultural exchange between Japan and Europe in the early Edo period and the Meiji and Taisho periods, fashion history.
Tel: 0131 247 4230