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Photo of Terrell, John Edward

John Edward Terrell, PhD

Regenstein Curator of Pacific Anthropology, Field Museum



Building & Room:

The Field Museum of Natural History


1400 South Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, Illinois 60605

Office Phone:

(312) 665-7822

CV Download:

John Terrell CV


I am currently in my 48thyear of service to the Field Museum by Lake Michigan not far from the Loop as their Regenstein Curator of Pacific Anthropology. (The Field has one of the world's truly great collections from the Pacific Islands . . . included in this vast region, by the way, are the Philippines and Indonesia, not just "Oceania" and Australia.) While I continue to work and publish in this scholarly arena, nowadays I am focusing my time chiefly on rethinking the basics of network analysis—a way of seeing the world and its challenges that in recent decades has been equated by far too many as an amorphous set of algorithms and computer modeling procedures constrained by the structuralist assumptions of 20thcentury sociology . . . and, nowadays, the temptations of "Big Data." I am also working on a novel 3-part model of how the human brain works for (and sometimes against) us as we live out our days from the cradle to the grave.

Selected Publications


“Understanding Lapita as History.” The Oxford Handbook of Prehistoric Oceania, edited by Ethan Cochrane and Terry Hunt, pp. 112–132. New York: Oxford.

Ancestry Tests Pose a Threat to Our Social Fabric.” SAPIENS,

DNA Tests Quietly Reinforce Terrible and Scientifically Inaccurate Concepts of “Ethnicity.” Slate.

“‘Plug & play’ genetics, racial migrations and human history.” Scientific American Blogs.

Service to Community

Scientific editor: SCIENCE DIALOGUES


Site founder and administrator: Museums & Global Heritage


Site administrator: Pacific Anthropology at the Field Museum

Professional Leadership

Editorial Board, Journal of Island and Coastal Archaeology


A.B., M.A., Ph.D. Harvard