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STT = St. Thomas Campus,
St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands

STX = Albert A. Sheen Campus,
St. Croix, US Virgin Islands

STJ = St. John Academic Center,
St. John, US Virgin Islands

Nicholls, Robert

Nicholls, Robert




Social Science Building room 303




Nicholls’ experience of academia on three continents (Europe, Africa, and America) provides him with a multicultural background and interdisciplinary strengths. Ethnologist: The Igede of Nigeria’s cultural history and that of the Virgin Islands, including tree lore; folk & popular media: Expert and specialist in the expressive culture of Africa and the Diaspora. Author: Widely published with many books and articles including photos he took. Music: Produced audio CD compilations of African, Jamaica, and Afro-American music. Nicholls also has grant writing and field research skills.


Social Sciences

Office Hours

Tuesdays: 1 - 4 pm
Thursdays: 1 - 4 pm
Fridays: 12:00 - 1 pm

Nicholls joined the University of the Virgin Islands as an Assistant Professor in August 1993 and is now a tenured Professor. Courses that Nicholls teaches include SSC 100 “An Introduction to Social Science: a Caribbean Perspective,” GOG 121 “Physical Geography,” GOG 122 “Cultural Geography,” and HIS 121 and HIS 122 “World Civilizations 1 and 2.” Born and raised in Britain, Nicholls obtained a B.A. in Art at London’s Central School of Art and Design, an Art Teachers Certificate from University of London Institute of Education, and a M.Ed. in Curriculum & Teaching, and a Ph.D. in African Studies from Howard University. Nicholls spent several years as faculty of Ahmadu Bello University in Nigeria, where he conducted research on the expressive culture of the Igede people. Much of his academic career has been devoted to exploring linkages between the folklore of West Africa and that of the Diaspora, for e.g. Nicholls has researched both masquerading and tree lore in Africa and the Eastern Caribbean, and regular convenes panels and presents at international conferences. Nicholls prepared a successful bid for UVI to host the 12th Triennial Symposium on African Arts sponsored by the Arts Council of the African Studies Association (ACASA) which was held at Marriott’s Frenchman’s Reef Resort to coincide with the Virgin Islands Carnival in April 2001.

Publications include Print:

  • "The Jumbies’ Playing Ground: Old World Influences on Afro-Creole Masquerades in the Eastern Caribbean." University Press of Mississippi, 2012
  • "Remarkable Big Trees in the U.S. Virgin Islands: An Eco-Heritage Guide to Jumbie Trees and Other Trees of Cultural Interest." UVI & VI Department of Agriculture, 2006
  • Numerous articles in journals such as, The Journal of the American Botanical Council, African Arts, Black Perspective in Music, International Journal of African Dance, Dance: Current Selected Research, and Folklore: Journal of the Folklore Society (UK); and Music CDs