Robert Farris Thompson

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For other people named Robert Thompson, see Robert Thompson (disambiguation).

Robert Farris Thompson (born December 30, 1932, El Paso, Texas[1]) is the Colonel John Trumbull Professor of the History of Art at Yale University.

Thompson, also known as Master T, attended Yale as an undergraduate and received his PhD from Yale Graduate School.[2] Having served as Master of Timothy Dwight College from 1978 until 2010, he was the longest serving master of a residential college at Yale. He was recently replaced as Master of Timothy Dwight College by Jeffrey Brenzel. Thompson is one of America's most prominent scholars of African art,[citation needed] and has presided over exhibitions of African art at the National Gallery in Washington D. C.. Thompson is one of the longest-serving alumni of Yale. Bob has made Yale home.

He lived in the Yoruba region of southwest Nigeria for many years while he conducted his research of Yoruba arts history. He is affiliated with the University of Ibadan and frequented Yoruba village communities. Thompson has studied the African arts of the diaspora in the United States, Cuba, Haiti, Puerto Rico, and several Caribbean islands. Robert Farris Thompson is also an authority on hip hop culture.[citation needed]


In 2007, Thompson was given the "Outstanding Contribution to Dance Research" award, by the Congress on Research in Dance.[1]


  1. ^ Robert Farris Thompson, Flash of the Spirit: African & Afro-American Art & Philosophy (Random House, 1984: ISBN 0-394-72369-4), p. 398.
  2. ^ Thompson, Flash of the Spirit, p. 398.


  • 1971 Black Gods and Kings: Yoruba Art at UCLA
  • 1974 African Art in Motion: Icon and Act in the Collection of Katharine Coryton White
  • 1974 African Art and Motion: Art Illustrated Guide to the Exhibition
  • 1981 The Four Moments of The Sun: Kongo Art in Two Worlds
  • 1984 Flash of the Spirit: African and Afro-American Art and Philosophy
  • 1993 Face of the Gods: Art and Altars of Africa and the African Americas
  • 2005 Tango : The Art History of Love
  • 2011 Aesthetic of the Cool : Afro-Atlantic Art and Music

External links[edit]

Entry partly made by Michael Oladejo Afolayan, PhD - friend and former student of Robert Farris Thompson.