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Tom Crowley

Tom Crowley

Department: Archaeology

Supervisor: Dacia Viejo Rose

College: Jesus

AHRC Subject Area: Heritage

Title of Thesis: Heritage on the Margins: Brokerage and Enchantment on Pakistan’s Northwest Frontier

Heritage and conflict




Pakistan / Afghanistan border

Enclaved societies

Subaltern resistance


I have come to Cambridge after four years working as a curator in the Anthropology Department of the Horniman Museum, South London. For the past 10 years I have revisited the same place in northwest Pakistan carrying out fieldwork, both in my capacity as a museum curator and previously as an MA anthropology student at SOAS.

My research focuses on the Kalasha of northwest Pakistan, the last followers of a pre-Islamic religion.  Sources covering the past 100 years or so reveal a remarkable flexibility in the practice of Kalasha culture. The Kalasha, it appears achieve the seemingly paradoxical feat of maintaining an identity which is at once oppositional to the communities around them whilst also accommodating those communities. I aim to uncover the mechanisms through which Kalasha actors produce their distinctively adaptive identity and bring this data to bear on existing theories of heritage, identity and conflict. 


Other Academic Interests


Museum collections from Arctic cultures

Museum collections of English folk and magical objects

Museum Collections from Tibetan speaking peoples

Ethnographic weaponry

Curatorial practice and public engagement

Landscape Archaeology of the Western Isles

Key Publications

  • Crowley, Tom, 2015. 'Rediscovering the Samson and Bailey collections: lost landscapes and London's Tibetans'. In Journal of Museum Ethnography, 28, pp173-183.
  • Crowley, Tom, Forthcoming. 'Bringing Questions of Authenticity and Identity from Northwest Pakistan to Southeast London: Collecting Kalasha dresses for the Horniman Museum'. In The Future of South Asian Collections.
  • Crowley, Tom and Mills, Andrew (eds.) Forthcoming. Weapons Violence and the Anthropology Museum. Norwich: Cambridge Scholars.
  • Crowley, Tom, Forthcoming. 'Horror in the Horniman: living with the Cuenca torture chair'. In Crowley, Tom and Mills, Andrew (eds.),  Weapons Violence and the Anthropology Museum. Norwich: Cambridge Scholars.