• Assistant Professor, Ethnic Studies
  • Affiliate Faculty , Environmental Humanities Graduate Program


Thomas Michael Swensen’s research focuses on Native American history, law, the environment, finance, and punk studies. He was born and raised in the Kodiak Archipelago and graduated from S.A.V.E. II secondary school in Anchorage on the Alaska mainland just before he turned 20 years old. He began attending community college here in lower North America when he was 25. An original shareholder in the Alaska Native Claims Settlement corporations Koniag and Leisnoi Village, he is also enrolled in the federally recognized Tangirnaq Native Village aka the Woody Island tribe. With pride, he serves the Alutiiq people on the board of directors of the Koniag education foundation, an organization that promotes the educational goals and economy of the Koniag Alutiiq and their descendants. He is also grateful to serve on a Koniag shareholder committee. He holds undergraduate degrees in English, Art, and Urban Planning, Masters Degrees in English and Ethnic Studies and a PhD in Ethnic Studies from the University of California, Berkeley. He is an assistant professor of Ethnic Studies and has held the prestigious postdoctoral fellowship in American Indian Studies at the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign in 2011 and was the 2017-2018 Katrin H. Lamon fellowship residential scholar at the School for Advanced Research, in Santa Fe, New Mexico.




  • Bachelor of Arts, Double Major in English Literature and Art, Westminster College
  • , Certificate in Urban Planning and Theory Geography Department, University of Utah
  • , Partial M.Arch Architecture , University of Oregon