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Anthropology | Robert Quinlan

Ph.D., University of Missouri, Columbia
Associate Professor
Evolutionary and Cultural Anthropology

Interest and Current Research

My main interests are in human behavioral and social ecology, ethnobiology, medical & psychological anthropology, collaborative ethnographic science, cross-cultural comparison, Africa, field and analytical methods.

I received my Ph.D. in Anthropology from the University of Missouri-Columbia, and I was a NIH post-doctoral fellow in Human Biology at the University of Hawai’i. I regularly teach Human Issues in International Development; History of Anthropological Thought; and graduate seminars on various topics in sociocultural anthropology and behavioral ecology.

My main focus is on the role of environmental risk in shaping human development, livelihood, reproduction, household relations, and cultural diversity. I have an active program of cross-cultural comparative research. I helped develop a collaborative research project concerning environmental risk and resilience among small-scale farmers in Southwest Ethiopia. I am also involved in collaborative research concerning the evolution and transmission of antimicrobial resistance among agro-pastoralists in Tanzania.

ANTH 418 Human Issues in International Development
ANTH 390 History of Anthropological Thought
ANTH 529 Graduate Seminar in Ethnography of SW Ethiopia
ANTH 537 Quantitative Methods in Anthropology

Representative Publications:

Caudell, M., Quinlan, M., Subbiah, M. Call, D., Roulette, C., Roulette, JW*, Roth, A.*, Matthews, L., and Quinlan, RJ** (forthcoming) Antimicrobial Use and Veterinary Care among Agro-pastoralists in Northern Tanzania. Plos One.

Ahmed, Haseeb, Yoder, J., and  Quinlan, R. 2016  Risk perceptions, management practices, and demand for livestock antibiotics among agropastoralists.  Washington State University School of Economic Sciences Working Paper # 2016-17.

Quinlan, R., Rumas, I., Naisikye, G., Quinlan, M., Yoder, J. 2016 Searching for Symbolic Value of Cattle: Tropical Livestock Units, Market Price and Cultural Value of Maasai Livestock. Ethnobiology Letters 7(1):76–86.

Quinlan, R., Jilo Dira*, S. Caudell*, M. Quinlan, M. 2016 Culture and Psychological Responses to Environmental Shocks: Cultural Ecology of Sidama Impulsivity and Niche Construction in SW Ethiopia. Current Anthropology 57(5):632-652.

Quinlan, R., Quinlan, M. Jilo Dira, S.*, Caudell, M.*, Sooge, A., & Assoma Amzye, A.* 2015 Vulnerability & Resilience in Sidama Enset & Maize Farms in Southwest Ethiopia. Journal of Ethnobiology. 35(2):314-336.

Macfarlan, S., Quinlan, R. & Remiker, M. 2013 Cooperative Behaviour and Prosocial Reputation Dynamics in a Dominican Village. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Science.

Meehan, C. Quinlan, R. Malcom, C.** 2012 Cooperative Breeding and Maternal Energy Expenditure among Aka Foragers. American Journal of Human Biology. 25(1):42-57.

Placek, C.D.** and Quinlan, R.J. 2012. Adolescent fertility and risky environments: a population level perspective across the life-span. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Science, 279:4003-4008.

Flinn, M.V., Duncan, C., Ponzi, D., Quinlan, R.L., Decker, S.A. and Leone, D.V. 2012) Hormones in the wild: Monitoring the endocrinology of family relationships. Parenting: Science and Practice, 11(6):124-133.

Caudell, M.** & Quinlan, R. (2012) Global resource availability, mortality and fertility: A Path Analytic Approach. Human Biology, 84(2):101-125.

Quinlan, R. (2010) Extrinsic Mortality Effects on Reproductive Strategies in a Caribbean Community. Human Nature,21(2):124-139.

Quinlan, R.J. (2008) Human Pair-Bonds: Evolutionary Functions, Ecological Variation and Adaptive Development. Evolutionary Anthropology. 17: 227-238.

Macfarlan, S.J.* & Quinlan, R.J. 2008 Kinship, Family & Gender Effects in the Ultimatum Game. Human Nature. 19: 294-309.

Quinlan, Robert J. and Marsha B. Quinlan. (2008) Human Lactation, Pairbonds & Alloparents: A Cross-Cultural Analysis.In Human Nature 19(1) (2008): 87-102.

Quinlan, Robert J. and Marsha B. Quinlan. (2007) Modernization and Medicinal Plant Knowledge in a Caribbean Horticultural Village. In Medical Anthropology Quarterly 21(2):169-192.

Quinlan, Robert J. and Marsha B. Quinlan (2007) Parenting and cultures of risk: A comparative analysis of infidelity, aggression and witchcraft. American Anthropologist, 109(1): 164-179.

Quinlan, R. & Quinlan, M. 2007. Evolutionary Ecology of Human Pair-Bonds: Cross-Cultural Tests of Alternative Hypotheses. Cross-Cultural Research 41(2):149-69.

Quinlan, R. 2007. Human Parental Effort & Environmental Risk. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Science. 274(1606):121-125.

Quinlan, R. 2006. Gender & Risk in a Matrifocal Caribbean Community: A View from Behavioral Ecology. American Anthropologist, 108(3): 464–479

Current Students
Justin Brown
Mulye Girma
Armando Medinaceli
Alyssa Miller
Athar Khan (co-chair)
Mesganaw Adualem (co-chair)



Contact Information

College Hall 219

Curriculum Vitae