Professor Clare HarrisBack to People

Subjects: Archaeology and Anthropology
Department: Anthropology
Academic position: Tutorial Fellow
Phone: 01865 276077


Since my father was in the Royal Air Force, I spent some of my childhood outside the UK but I completed my education at King Edward VI School, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk. I then took a year out and taught English in a school for Tibetan refugees in India. On my return to England I went to the University of Cambridge for my BA and to the School of Oriental and African Studies (London University) for my MA and PhD. My first teaching post was in the School of World Art Studies at the University of East Anglia. I came to Oxford in 1998 and joined Magdalen College in 2002.


At Magdalen I am the course director for the undergraduate degree in Archaeology and Anthropology and I teach all the core papers in anthropology within it. I also give tutorials for the anthropology papers in the Human Sciences degree. I give lectures for all students taking the Archaeology and Anthropology degree and have supervised undergraduate dissertations in anthropology, human sciences, history and the history of art. At postgraduate level I mainly teach on the Visual, Material and Museum Anthropology degrees. I also run a specialist course on the anthropology of art and I supervise doctoral students.

Research Interests

My research and writing focuses on contemporary art, photography in colonial and post-colonial contexts, monuments and memory construction, histories of museums and collecting, and the politics of representation with particular reference to Tibet, the Himalayas and the Tibetan diaspora. These interests are reflected in my professional roles within the University of Oxford. I am Professor in Visual Anthropology in the School of Anthropology and Museum Ethnography. I am also the Curator for Asian Collections at the Pitt Rivers Museum.


Selected Publications

  • 2016    Photography and Tibet’, Reaktion Books, London
  • 2012    The Museum on the Roof of the World: Art, Politics and the Representation of Tibet, University of Chicago Press, Chicago, USA
  • 2010    Ladakh: Culture at the Crossroads (co-edited with Monisha Ahmed) Marg Publications, Mumbai, India
  • 2003    Seeing Lhasa: British Depictions of the Tibetan Capital 1936 – 1947 (co-authored with Tsering Shakya), Serindia Publications, Chicago, USA
  • 1999    In the Image of Tibet: Tibetan Painting after 1959, Reaktion Books, London (In 2000 this book won the International Jury prize for the best book in Visual Anthropology awarded by the International Centre for Ethnohistory).

Online Publication

  • The Tibet Album: British Photography in Central Tibet 1920-1950 http://Tibet.prm.ox.ac.uk

Some Recent Essays

  • 2013 ‘The Potala Palace: Remembering to Forget in Contemporary Tibet’, in South Asian Studies Journal, Vol. 29. No.1 pp 97 – 111
  • 2013 ‘The Future of the Ethnographic Museum’ (co-authored with Mike O’Hanlon), Anthropology Today, Vol. 29. No.1 pp. 8 – 12
  • 2013 ‘In and Out of Place: Tibetan Artists’ Travels in the Contemporary Art World’ Visual Anthropology Review, Vol. 28, Issue 2, pp 152 – 163
  • 2011 Generation Exile: Exploring New Tibetan Identities, Rossi and Rossi and Hanart Hong Kong
  • 2007 ‘The Buddha Goes Global: some thoughts towards a transnational art history’ in Location Deborah Cherry and Fintan Cullen (Eds.) Blackwells, Oxford pp. 166-188