Mr Robert Emerson Bartholomew

PhD, Sociology, James Cook University (1998); MA Australian Sociology, Flinders University of South Australia (1992); MA, American Sociology, State University of New York at Albany (1984); BA, Communications, State University of New York at Plattsburgh (1979); Certificate in Radio Broadcasting, Adirondack Community College, New York (1977)


Robert is a medical sociologist who has written extensively on the inappropriate placement of disease and disorder labels onto unpopular or unfamiliar behaviours (the medicalization of deviance).  He began his career as a journalist for several New York State radio stations and has lived with the Malay people in Malaysia and Aborigines in the Tanami Desert of Central Australia.  He was featured in a National Geographic series on modern myths.  A Fellow with the Center for Inquiry in Amherst, New York, he teaches History at Botany College in AucklandHis books include: No Maori Allowed: New Zealand's Forgotten History of Racial Segregation (2020); American Intolerance: Our Dark History of Demonizing Immigrants (with Anja Reumschüssel, 2018); A Colorful History of Popular Delusions (with Peter Hassall, 2015), and Outbreak! The Encyclopedia of Extraordinary Social Behavior (with Hilary Evans, 2009).

Research | Current

Mass psychogenic illness, moral panics, Māori racial segregation, belief in the supernatural

Areas of expertise

Mass psychogenic illness, culture-bound syndromes, the history of tabloid journalism, topics on the margins of science (UFOs, ghosts, lake monsters, Bigfoot, etc., and why people believe in them), the medicalization of deviance, and the demonization of migrants, media hoaxes, and the history of Māori racial segregation. 

Committees/Professional groups/Services

The Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, Amherst, New York ('The Skeptics')

Contact details

Alternative contact

Home Phone contact (Landline) +64 9 530 8671

Mobile Phone contact:  022 313 3053

Social links

Web links