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Taylor, Paul Michael

Curator of European, Near Eastern, and Asian Ethnology

Research anthropologist (researcher) at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History; Curator of Asian, European, and Middle Eastern Ethnology; and head of that museum’s Asian Cultural History Program. An author or editor of numerous books and scholarly articles on the ethnography, ethnobiology, linguistic anthropology, and art or material culture of Asia; curator of twenty-one museum exhibitions (including five online virtual exhibitions); and anthropologist consultant for ethnographic films.

Geographic Focus

Professional Biography

  • PAUL MICHAEL TAYLOR, a research anthropologist at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History, is head of that museum's Asian Cultural History Program, and serves as Curator of Asian, European, and Middle Eastern Ethnology.  He has written or edited many books and numerous scholarly articles on the ethnography, ethnobiology, languages, and art (or material culture) of Asia.  He has also curated twenty-one museum exhibitions (including five on-line virtual exhibitions). Outside his Smithsonian work he previously served as Senior Consultant to the World Bank Inspection Panel for social safeguard policies; and also as the Director of Ethnographic Film Development for Essential TV (Overseas) Ltd to develop twelve documentary anthropological films. During his studies of rural social, ecological, and poverty-alleviation issues, and his work on documentary films, he lived for over four years in small tribal or rural villages of Southeast Asia. The recipient of numerous international grants and awards, he has served on the Board of Directors of the Association for Asian Studies, and has been a longtime member of the Smithsonian’s Asian-Pacific American Heritage Committee. He has worked closely with many individuals and community organizations to establish “Heritage” projects at the Smithsonian, including the Smithsonian’s Sikh Heritage project, Korean Heritage, Heritage of Thailand, Taiwan Heritage, and others.