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Professor Mhairi Gibson

My research focuses on population and health issues, incorporating theories and methods from human behavioural ecology and anthropology. Based on long-term fieldwork in South-Central Ethiopia I study recent changes in reproductive and parenting decision-making among Arsi Oromo agropastoralists. I also work on the social dynamics of normative practices which are harmful to women and girls. In particular, I am interested in identifying the individual and community factors which explain the persistence of female genital cutting/mutilation and intimate partner violence in high-risk communities.

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

Recently supervised student topics include:

  • Testing evolutionary explanations for “harmful cultural traditions”
  • Developing specialized survey techniques for measuring sensitive behaviour
  • Socio-ecology of infectious disease in Uganda
  • Human behavioural ecology of labour migration in Ethiopia
  • Infant feeding practices in Somali-born women in Bristol