Robert Farris Thompson

Robert Farris Thompson

Robert Farris Thompson

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Robert Farris Thompson (born December 30, 1932, El Paso, TexasRobert Farris Thompson, Flash of the Spirit: African & Afro-American Art & Philosophy (Random House, 1984: ISBN 0394723694), p. 398.) is the Colonel John Trumbull Professor of the History of Art at Yale University.

Thompson attended Yale as an undergraduate and received his PhD from Yale Graduate School.Thompson, Flash of the Spirit, p. 398. 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 America's most prominent scholar of African art, and has presided over exhibitions of African art at the National Gallery in Washington D. C..

He lived in the Yoruba region of southwest Nigeria for many years while he conducted his research of Yoruba Arts History. He 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, Peurto Rico, and several Caribbean islands. Robert Farris Thompson is also an authority in hip-hop culture.


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



  • 1971 Black Gods and Kings: Yoruba Art at UCLA
  • 1974 African Art...... ...
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