Biographical entry: Hocart, Arthur Maurice (1883 - 1939)



Born in Belgium in 1883, Arthur Hocart was educated at Exeter College, Oxford beginning in 1902. While still a graduate student he first came to Melanesia in 1907 as a student of W.H.R. Rivers and Gerald C. Wheeler during the Percy Sladen Trust Expedition. He worked with Rivers in the New Georgia Islands, concentrating on Simbo (Eddystone Island), while Wheeler conducted his own research on Mono in the Treasury Islands and Alu in the Shortland Islands. The next year Rivers and Hocart travelled together in Melanesia and collaborated in collecting Fijian artefacts. Rivers returned to England but Hocart stayed in Fiji as a Headmaster at Lakeba, at the first school established by Fijians. In 1912, he received a graduate research scholarship and studied on Rotuma, Tonga and Samoa before returning to England in 1914. He served in the First World War, and then worked as an archaeologist in Ceylon before becoming Professor of Sociology at Faud I University in Cairo in 1934. He died in Egypt in 1939. Hocart was best known for his studies of social hierarchy and he helped to lay the foundations of the study of kinship as a principal of social organisation. (Welsch 1998, 82-83)

Published resources

Edited Books

  • Welsch, Robert L. (ed.), An American Anthropologist in Melanesia: A.B. Lewis and the Joseph N. Field South Pacific Expedition, 1909-1913, University of Hawai`i Press, Honolulu, 1998. Details