James Holland Jones

As a biological anthropologist, I am interested in the origins and maintenance of human diversity. A fundamental dimension of human biosocial diversity is represented in the stunning variation in mortality and fertility rates that characterize our species. Two major sources of variation in human mortality through time and across societies are the differential impact of (1) infectious disease and (2) violence. Theory, in turn, predicts that fertility should respond to the variation in mortality. As a consequence, I see studying both infectious disease and violence as necessary predicates for understanding the diversity of the human demographic experience. The central question that guides my research program is how does individual heterogeneity in things like frailty, reproductive decision-making, or social contact combine to produce aggregate population outcomes such as patterns of mortality, the distribution of lifetime reproduction, or epidemics of varying size and severity? I have a portfolio of research projects that combine these ideas. A sampling of this portfolio can be found below.