Some Pointers

Anthropology 31 Library Guide

Regina Roberts of the Social Sciences Resource Center (part of the Stanford Library), has put together a course guide that links to relevant books, journals, online databases and other resources that can be used for writing papers, etc. This is an amazing resource and I encourage students to take full advantage of it!


I have written a blog post about the recent brouhaha over the role of science in anthropology on my blog. In this post, I list a number of anthropologists working at the nexus of human ecology and health whose work I think is first-rate.

There are a number of excellent practicing anthropologists who maintain science blogs. Among these are Kate Clancy's (UIUC) Context and Variation, Daniel Lende and Greg Downey's Neuroanthropology, Julienne Rutherford's AAPA BANDIT, and Patrick Clarkin's blog dedicated to biological anthropology, war and health, growth nutrition. Along with Rebecca Stumpf, Kate Clancy is also the director of the Laboratory for Evolutionary Endocrinology (which has its own blog) at the University of Illinois.

Upon further reflection, I think that the University of Illinois has to be a major contender for best place to study biological anthropology. Wow, they've got an amazing group of biological anthropologists there. Stanley Ambrose, Kate Clancy, Paul Garber, Lyle Konigsberg, Steve Leigh, Ripan Malhi, John Polk, Charles Roseman, Laura Shackelford, Rebecca Stumpf. Too many to link to directly. I don't know all of them, but the ones I know are outstanding. Yipes! I think they may be plotting to take over the field.

You can always count on gems of anthropological, evolutionary, and political wisdom from Greg Laden as well.

Susan C. Antón (NYU) and Josh Snodgrass (Oregon) organize the Bones and Behavior Working Group, the goal of which is to foster greater synthesis across the different sub-areas of biological anthropology. Of particular interest are their standardized protocols for anthropometry.

Mario Luis Small, at the University of Chicago, has done some really outstanding work measuring how social institutions affect social capital and the impact such differences in social capital actually have for people's well-being.

Richard Bribiescas is the author of Men: Evolutionary and Life History and is director of the Reproductive Ecology Laboratory at Yale. Yale is also now the home to Catherine Panter-Brick who also happens to be the senior editor for medical anthropology at Social Science and Medicine.

A number of excellent human biologists find their home in the Laboratory for Human Biology Research at Northwestern. This includes Bill Leonard, Thom McDade, and Chris Kuzawa.

Karen Kramer, in the department formerly known as (Biological) Anthropology at Harvard, is a real leader in integrating evolutionary, demographic, and economic perspectives on human reproduction and the life histories.

Patrick Clarkin at UMass, Boston has a very interesting research program employing biocultural and evolutionary models to understand the effects of war on nutrition and growth among SE Asian diaspora. UMass, Boston is also home to Colleen Nyberg who does great work on acculturation and health, the psychobiology of stress and HPA function, and growth and development.

Julienne Rutherford at the University of Illinois, Chicago School of Dentistry works on the role of the intrauterine environment on health. Of particular interest for this class is her collaborative work on understanding the epigenetic regulation of placental systems of amino acid transport as part of the Cebu Longitudinal Study in the Philippines. UIC also has a number of excellent human biologists scattered about in anthropology, including Betsy Abrams and Crystal Patil, Epidemiology (Bob Bailey) and Community Health Sciences (Nadine Peacock).

Let's not forget our friends across The Pond. Durham may have lost Catherine Panter-Brick to Yale, but they got a number of new folks who, when combined with the veterans, make it a very appealing place to study ecological/evolutionary anthropology. Among the faculty there are my colleagues Gillian Bentley, Rebecca Sear, and Frank Marlowe, and numerous others. Rebecca does very sophisticated work in anthropological demography, while Frank is one of the leading ethnographers of contemporary hunter-gatherers (and my collaborator on our Hadza demography project).

Ruth Mace, in my opinion, does some of the most interesting work in human behavioral ecology right now and she keeps churning out top students at UCL.

I'm looking forward to working with Mhairi Gibson at Bristol on our new project on the transmission dynamics of primate retroviruses and human-wildlife contact in Uganda. She has done excellent work on the behavioral ecology of reproduction and parental investment in Ethiopia.

Courses at Other Universities

OK, so the first course I list is not really a course, but a reading group organized by Josh Snodgrass, a human biologist at the University of Oregon. Close enough. They read some cool stuff. It just so happens that Josh teaches a course called "Human Biological Variation" too.

Mark Moritz at Ohio State University has established a Hunter-Gatherer Wiki is conjunction with his course on Hunter-Gatherers.

Mike Gurven at UCSB teaches a course on the behavioral ecology of hunter-gatherers.

Bruce Winterhalder at UC Davis has a very interesting course on classics in cultural ecology.

Eric Smith at the University of Washington teaches a class on Ecological Anthropology that has extensive online lecture notes.

Claudia Valeggia, at Penn, teaches a class on reproductive ecology.


What follows is a very unsystematic collection of books that relate to some of the topics discussed in the class.

Boserup, E. 2005. The conditions of agricultural growth: the economics of agrarian change under population pressure. New York: Aldine Transaction.

Chapin, F. S., P. A. Matson, and H. A. Mooney. 2002. Principles of terrestrial ecosystem ecology. New York: Springer.

Cohen, J. E. 1995. How many people can the Earth support? New York: Norton.

Hill, K., and A. M. Hurtado. 1996. Ache life history. New York: Aldine de Gruyter.

Howell, N. 2000. The demography of the Dobe !Kung, 2nd ed. New York: Transaction Publishers.

Lansing, J. S. 2006. Perfect order: recognizing complexity in Bali. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Moran, E. 2007. Human adaptability: an introduction to ecological anthropology. Boulder, CO: Westview Press.

Netting, R. M. 1993. Smallholders, householders: Farm families and the ecology of intensive, sustainable agriculture. Stanford: Stanford University Press.

Painter, M., and W. H. Durham. 1995. The social causes of environmental destruction in Latin America. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.

Sapolsky, R. M. 2004. Why zebras don't get ulcers, 3rd ed. New York: Henry Holt.

Scoones, I. 2001. Dynamics and diversity: soil fertility and farming livelihoods in Africa: Case studies from Ethiopia, Mali, and Zimbabwe. London: Earthscan.

Small, M. L. 2009. Unanticipated gains: origins of network inequality in everyday life. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Tanner, J. M. 1990. Fetus into man: physical growth from conception to maturity. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.


The Human Biology Association

Population Association of America

International Union for the Scientific Study of Population

Society for Applied Anthropology

European Society for Evolution and Human Behavior

International Network for Social Network Analysis

Last Modified: 3.24.11