Dorothy K. Billings

Cultural Anthropologist - Emeritus

Dorthy K. Billings

(316) 978-3195
PhD, 1972, University of Sydney

Area of Study/Interest

Melanesia, Art, religions, world views; indigenous knowledge, sustainable development


Peoples of the Pacific, Art and Culture, World Cultures, Intercultural Relationships, LAS 300: Global Issues, Peoples of China, Peoples of Africa, Women in Other Cultures, Magic, Witchcraft, Religion; Theory.


Raised in Milwaukee. Attended Riverside High School. I began college at Radcliffe and finished at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. I studied for one year (1955) at the University of Auckland-New Zealand as a Fulbright scholar Began my Ph.D at Columbia in New York, where I passed the PhD comprehensive exams and the exams in two languages (French and German). While studying I worked full time (1959-63) at the Brooklyn Museum of Art, where I taught school children and teachers about the arts and artifacts of “Eskimos,” Pueblo Indians, Northwest Coast, Oceania, Africa and Mexico. I then (1964)went on to the University of Sydney, where I received a tenured position as a Senior Tutor.


  • 1987 Expressive Style and Culture: Individualism and Group Orientation Contrasted. Language in Society 16:475-497.
  • 2002 Cargo Cult as Theater: Political Performance in the Pacific. Lanham: Lexington Books.
  • 2007 New Ireland Malanggan Art: the Quest for Meaning. Oceania: 77:3, pp. 257-285.