Department of Anthropology

Research Projects


The Causes and Consequences of Hadza Matrilocality Social Structure
Hadza Research The goal of this project, led by James Holland Jones and Co-PI Brian Wood (Department of Anthropology, Yale), is to investigate the individual and family-level decisions that lead to emergent patterns of kin coresidence among Hadza hunter-gatherers of northern Tanzania. Comparative work in cultural anthropology has shown that marriage, kinship systems, and marital residence patterns vary according the ecological conditions. The investigators propose theoretically grounded hypotheses about the formation of residential groups that can be tested by examining variation between and within Hadza residential groups. The proposed research tests hypotheses about how demographic, economic, and ecological factors contribute to variation in social structure, through both time and space. To test these largely adaptive hypotheses, the investigators will develop rigorous counterfactual demographic null hypotheses and test these using both demographic microsimulation and agent-based models constructed specifically for this project. This work will improve the theoretical and methodological foundations for understanding how individual decisions, cascading through a population, lead to aggregate patterns in residential groups. The Hadza are an ideal population with whom to perform this research, because they exhibit a high degree of variation in their residential arrangements, across individuals, families, and seasons. As the last group of hunter-gatherers in east Africa, they provide a rare chance to examine the demography and residential arrangements of a foraging population.

This project will forge new research alliances. In cooperation with Tanzanian health professionals and NGOs, the work will facilitate efforts to provide much-needed health services for the Hadza, a small and vulnerable population that lives in remote areas far from hospitals. Fieldwork plans include in-field medical assessments by Tanzanian nurses and doctors trained in TB and HIV education and treatment. The demographic information gathered for this project will be used to support an ongoing effort to develop and fund a comprehensive HIV assessment and treatment plan that is tailored to the Hadza community.

PI: Jamie Jones and Brian Wood