Thomas K. Park

Professor of Anthropology

Research Anthropologist, Bureau of Applied Research in Anthropology

Professor, School of Middle Eastern and North African Studies

About Thomas K. Park

Education: University of Wisconsin - Madison: Ph.D. Anthropology and History 1983. M.A. Agricultural Economics 1982. M.A. Anthropology 1977. McGill University, Montreal, Canada: B.A. 1st Class Honors in Anthropology and Philosophy 1974. University of Bergen, Norway: Studied Anthropology 1971-2.

Languages: Arabic, English, French, Norwegian (have also studied Hebrew, Latin, Greek, German, Russian and Tachelhyt).

Married to Claire Campbell Park,

Selected Publications

Selected publications, see also vita


2017 with James B. Greenberg. The roots of Western Finance: power, ethics, and social capital in the ancient world. Lanham, MD, Lexington Books.


2017 with James B. Greenberg.  Hidden Interests in credit and finance: power, ethics, and social capital across the last millennium. Lanham, MD, Lexington Books.


2016 with Aomar Boum. Historical Dictionary of Morocco.  Third Edition. Updated and expansion of Park and Boum. Scarecrow  Press / Rowman and Littlefield, Lanham, Md.


2006  with Aomar Boum. Historical Dictionary of Morocco.  Second Edition. Revised and roughly doubled in size expansion of Park 1996. Scarecrow  Press, University Presses of America, Lanham, Md.


1996 Historical Dictionary of Morocco.  Scarecrow Press / University Presses of America, Lanham, Md.


1993 Risk and Tenure in Arid Lands: the political ecology of development in the Senegal River Basin.  Edited.  University of Arizona Press, Arid Lands Development Series. 


1992 Moroccan Migration and Mercantile Money.   Human Organization. Vol.51, No.3 1992:205-213.


1992   Early trends toward class stratification. Chaos, Common Property and Flood Recession Agriculture.   American Anthropologist, March, Pp.90-117.


Courses Taught

see vita on personal web page

Areas of Study

North Africa, the Sahel, sub-saharan Africa, environmental and urban issues, political ecology, 19th and 20th century history and historiography, economics and development, credit: ancient to the present, philosophy and social science theory.


Selected funded research

2007-2014 co-PI with Stefanie Herrmann, Mamadou Baro and Randy Gimblett.  “Desertification” or “Greening”? Human-Environment Relationships in the Face of Climate Variability: Case Studies in Mauritania and Senegal. Submitted to NSF: Geography in July, 2007. Awarded $400,000 in December 2007, starting date April 2008. (NSF grant no. EAR9817743) No cost extensions 2012-2014 final report filed, publications in process. 

PROJECT SUMMARY: Desertification’ or ‘Greening’? Human-Environment Relationships in the Face of Climate Variability: Case Studies in Mauritania and Senegal (Stefanie Herrmann, Thomas Park, Mamadou Baro, Randy Gimblett)


1999-2003 (NSF 9817743, #0138217) I have been the PI (Mamadou Baro, Gary Christopherson and Stuart Marsh co-PIs) on a grant funded by NSF ($499,735) for a grant to build a broad picture of urbanization in Africa and its impact on the natural resources of urban hinterlands through the use of remote sensing imagery and, at a later stage, urban research focussing on the poorer segments of six cities (Marrakech, Dakar, Bamako, Niamey, Dodoma and Gaborone). We developed a diachronic picture of change in urban features such as garbage dumps, shanty towns, built up urban areas, market gardens etc that will allow one to hypothesize about the differential impact on the environment of demographic trends among the rich and poor or business and government urban sectors. the grant is titled, “Creation of a GIS for six Cities in Arid Environments: in Morocco, Senegal, Mali, Niger, Tanzania, and Botswana.”

2002 Received $45,000 from NSF in March for a conference for the Six Cities Project. Conference was held in Dakar, Senegal 6-10 January, 2003.

Research Interests

Urbanization in Africa and the Middle East, complexity theory, economic theory, mathematical methodologies in anthropology and history, the history of credit, flood recession agriculture, the Sahara, the Sahel, North Africa, development, economic history, North African Arabic archives, bureaucracy in Africa and the Middle East, colonialism & imperialism, anthropology of law, Islam, land tenure, 18th to 21st C European philosophy, foragers in arid lands, pastoralism, Pyrrhonic skepticism, political ecology.