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Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology


Dr Anita Herle: Emeritus Professor and Senior Research Fellow

Anita Herle (BA, M.Phil, PhD, FRAI) was the Senior Curator and Reader in Museum Anthropology. She oversaw Pacific, Americas and photographic collections at MAA and has regional interests in Torres Strait, Vanuatu, Fiji and Canada. She teaches for the MPhil in Social Anthropology and Museums, lectures in the anthropology of art and visual media, and supervises MPhil and doctoral students.

Her research is concerned with a range of ethnographic, disciplinary and colonial contexts for MAA’s collections and their many contemporary resonances. Within the history of British anthropology, she has explored the intersection between different knowledge systems, the complex relations that develop in the anthropological field and the potency of objects and photographs in relational encounters. For over twenty years she has worked to make collections accessible to communities of origin. Much of her research has focused on the production of collaborative exhibitions.

Dr Herle has completed a long-term project with Dr Jude Philp (University of Sydney) to publish Alfred Haddon’s Journals from his expeditions to the Torres Strait in 1888 and 1898 in consultation and collaboration with Islander communities and descendants of the people with whom Haddon worked. She also led a multidisciplinary project on COLOUR, culminating in an exhibition at MAA in mid 2022.


Key publications: 

A. Herle and J. Philp (2020) Recording Kastom: Alfred Haddon's Journals from the Torres Strait and New Guinea, 1888 and 1898. Sydney University Press

A. Herle and J. Philp (2020) ‘Activating Anthropology’s Archive: Alfred Haddon’s Journals from the Torres Strait and Island Kastom’.  University Museums and Collections Journal, Vol.12 No. 1, pp 12 – 19.

A. Herle (2018) ‘Displaying Colonial Relations: from Government House in Fiji to the University of Cambridge Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology’. Museum & Society, 16 (2) pp. 279 – 297

A. Herle (2016) ‘Anthropology Museums and Museum Anthropology’. Cambridge Encyclopaedia of Anthropology, Department of Social Anthropology <>

A. Herle, J. Philp and J. Dudding (2015).  ‘Reactivating Visual Histories: Haddon’s photographs from Mabuyag 1888, 1898’. In Ian McNiven and Garrick Hitchcock (ed) Goemulgaw Lagal: Cultural and Natural Histories of the Island of Mabuyag, Torres Strait. Brisbane: Memoirs of the Queensland Museum Volume 8 (1) pp. 253-288

A. Herle (2013) Exhibitions as Research: Displaying the Technologies that Make Bodies Visible’. In S. Dudley and K. Message (eds.) Museum Worlds: Advances in Research. Berghahn, Vol. 1, pp. 113 – 135

A. Herle and L. Carreau (2013) Chiefs & Governors: Art and Power in Fiji. MAA

A. Herle (2012) ‘Creating the Anthropological Field in the Pacific’. In Kate Fullagar (ed.) The Atlantic World in the Antipodes: Effects and Transformation since the eighteenth century. Cambridge Scholars Publishing pp. 185-218

A. Herle and H. Geismar (2010) Moving Images: John Layard, Fieldwork and Photography in Malakula Since 1914 (Crawford House Press/University of Hawaii Press)

A. Herle (2009) ‘John Layard long Malakula 1914–1915: the Potency of Field Photography’. In Christopher Morton and Elizabeth Edwards (eds.). Photography, Anthropology and History: Expanding the Frame. Ashgate

A. Herle, M. Elliott and R. Empson (2009) Assembling Bodies: Art Science and Imagination. MAA

A. Herle (2008) Relational Objects: Connecting People and Things through Pasifika StylesInternational Journal of Cultural Property. (Vol. 15 (2): 159-179.)

A. Herle, J. Philp, and L. Bin Juda (2007) The Journey of the Stars: Gab Titui a Cultural Centre for the Torres Strait. In N. Stanley (ed.). The Future of Indigenous Museums. Berg pp. 93-116

A. Herle (2006) Transforming Things: art and politics on the Northwest Coast. In Bruno Latour and Peter Weibel (eds.) Making Things Public. Zentrum für Kunst und Medientechnologie

A. Herle and A. Moutu (2004) Paired Brothers: Concealment and Revelation. Iatmul Ritual Art from the Sepik, Papua New Guinea. MAA

A. Herle (2004)  Objects, Agency and Museums: Continuing dialogues between the Torres Strait and Cambridge. In Laura Peers and Alison Brown (eds.) Museums and Source Communities. Routledge pp. 194-207

A. Herle and J. Philp (1998) Torres Strait Islanders: an Exhibition Marking the Centenary of the 1898 Cambridge Anthropological Expedition. MAA

A. Herle and S. Rouse (1998) Cambridge and the Torres Strait: Centenary Essays on the 1898 Anthropological Expedition. (Cambridge University Press).

Senior Curator in Anthropology
A colour photograph of Anita Herle, Curator of Anthropology at MAA
Not available for consultancy