Oxford clarifies Thum's role as that of research associate with school of anthropology: report

Thum Ping Tjin is a Visiting Fellow of the Fertility and Reproduction Studies Group at Oxford’s School of Anthropology and Museum Ethnography, said the university. (PHOTO: Screenshot from Gov.sg YouTube page)

Oxford University has clarified historian Thum Ping Tjin’s role at the institution, after the Singapore Parliament Secretariat wrote to the academic to inquire about his position there.

Oxford’s head of communications Stephen Rouse said Thum is a research associate with the university’s School of Anthropology and Museum Ethnography, reported The Straits Times on Saturday (14 April).

Responding to the newspaper’s queries, Rouse said Thum is a Visiting Fellow of the Fertility and Reproduction Studies Group at the school.

The university’s spokesperson added that the school has three categories of research associates, and Thum falls under the category of social scientists based outside the university working with members of the department.

Research associates are not employees of the university, said Rouse, but are “valued colleagues with whom we have shared research interests”.

The other two categories of research associates at the school are anthropologists based in Oxford and recent doctorate graduates of the department.

Rouse also said that Thum was awarded a doctorate in history by the university in 2011.

The Parliament Secretariat said on Friday (13 April) that it had written to Thum to ask him to clarify his academic credentials after he gave “varying accounts” of his role at the University of Oxford.

On the final day of the hearings by the Select Committee on Deliberate Online Falsehoods in March, Thum was grilled for six hours by Home Affairs and Law Minister K Shanmugam about his research and writings on the history of Singapore in the 1960s. During the session, Shanmugam also asked Thum about his academic credentials.

Yahoo News Singapore has reached out to Thum for comment.

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