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Anthropology | Evolutionary Program

Evolutionary Anthropology

The Evolutionary Anthropology program at the WSU Department of Anthropology offers comprehensive training in evolutionary approaches to human behavior, culture, and biology. Our faculty contribute important findings to all the major areas, including cultural evolution, human behavioral ecology, human biology, evolutionary psychology, evolutionary medicine, and medical anthropology. Our intellectual vision spans molecules to multi-level models, intimate ethnography to cross-cultural comparison, and we integrate this vision through a shared theoretical framework that incorporates perspectives from multiple disciplines and values applied research. Faculty-led research at field sites in Argentina, Bolivia, Central African Republic, Commonwealth of Dominica, Ecuador, Ethiopia, Honduras, Tanzania, and the United States provides important and unique fieldwork opportunities for students.

We train graduate students according to our global, interdisciplinary, and collaborative vision. Faculty maintain national and international collaborations that facilitate comparative research and a broad student experience. As a result, many of our graduate students obtain experience at several field sites and laboratories early in their careers. Indeed, most students participate in research and teaching opportunities beginning in their first semester. We encourage students to create a program of study uniquely tailored to their dissertation projects and future career plans. Given the interdisciplinary nature of Evolutionary Anthropology, this often involves completing coursework from relevant disciplines such as evolutionary biology, economics, global animal health, and through the medical school.

We value collegiality and actively support the professional development of our students beyond the classroom. Evolutionary Anthropology students meet regularly with faculty and their peers to share ideas, questions, and findings in the context of journal club, departmental colloquia, lab meetings, and other interest groups.

We encourage prospective graduate students who are interested in applying evolutionary theory to cutting-edge anthropological questions concerning culture change, cultural ecology, human biology, human development, human sociality, and health—to name just a few topics of interest—to contact us with questions about our program. Please feel free to call or email the Evolutionary Anthropology faculty member that best matches your research interests. If you are unsure of who is the best match for you or if you have general questions about the program, please contact the Evolutionary Anthropology program coordinator Rob Quinlan.

Evolutionary Anthropology Faculty

Interests: Human biology, ecological immunology, reproductive ecology, host-parasite interactions, evolutionary medicine, human growth, endocrinology, life history theory.


Interests: Darwinian medicine, mental health, drug use, child growth and development. Sub-Saharan Africa

Dr. BARRY S. HEWLETT – (Emeritus) 

Interests: Medical anthropology, hunters and gatherers, infant and child development, evolutionary cultural anthropology, international development. Sub-Saharan Africa (on the Vancouver campus)


Interests: Evolutionary Biocultural Anthropology, Life History Theory, Human Milk Composition, Human Milk Microbiome (HMM), Gut Microbiome, Cooperative Breeding, Infant and Child Development, Child Growth, Hunter-gatherers, Agro-Pastoralists, Sub-Saharan Africa, Cross-Cultural Research.


Interests: Human sociality, collective action, risk management, human behavioral ecology, evolutionary psychology, cultural anthropology, development anthropology, behavioral economics, social psychology, Latin American anthropology, applied statistics.


Interests: Behavioral & evolutionary ecology, medical anthropology, ethnography, life history & reproductive behavior, cultural responses to environmental risk, household demography & economics. East Africa, Caribbean.

Additional Information

Fact Sheet

Our Track Record of Successful
Job Placements Since our Inception in 2003


Graduate Coordinator
Dr. Rob Quinlan

Student Representative

Maryam Edrisi