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Dr Mhairi Gibson

Dr Mhairi Gibson

Dr Mhairi Gibson
B.A.(Dunelm.), M.Phil.(Cantab.), Ph.D.(U.C.Lond.)

Reader in Anthropology

43 Woodland Road,
Clifton, Bristol BS8 1UU
(See a map)

+44 (0) 117 954 6001
+44 (0) 117 954 6087


My research focuses on population and health issues in resource-limited communities. This work combines anthropological and demographic methodologies with theoretical frameworks of evolutionary biology. Fieldwork-based research has explored the causes and consequences of population change, parenting and livelihood decisions among Oromo agropastoralists in Ethiopia. I’m also interested in understanding the biocultural factors which explain the persistence of normative practices which are harmful to women globally, including female genital cutting/mutilation, intimate partner violence and early marriage.

I welcome research proposals, in particular within Human Behavioural Ecology, Evolutionary Anthropology, and Applied Anthropology. 

Recently supervised student topics include:

  • Evolutionary explanations for “harmful cultural practices”
  • Socio-ecology of infectious disease in Uganda
  • Human behavioural ecology of labour migration in Ethiopia
  • Infant feeding practices in Somali-born women in Bristol



Following degrees in Anthropology at Durham and Cambridge, PhD and Postdoctoral Fellowship at UCL, I joined the University of Bristol in 2005.


Undergraduate units

  • Evolution and Human Behaviour
  • Population Health and Development
  • Dissertations

Postgraduate units



Department of Archaeology and Anthropology

Academics by department

Selected publications

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View complete publications list in the University of Bristol publications system

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