Cathryn M. Townsend, PhD

Cathryn M. Townsend, PhD
Postdoctoral Scholar
High Res Photo

Research in Progress

My research is about egalitarian political systems, and the relationship between cooperation and adversity. I am affiliated with the Human Generosity Project. Global public health and inequalities of health are also topics of interest. My fieldwork is with hunter-gatherers and horticulturalists in Central Africa and in the rural Caribbean.


Ph.D. Anthropology, University College London, 2015

M.Res. Anthropology, University College London, 2009

M.A. Anthropology, University of London, 2006

B.A. English & Communication, University of South Africa, 2000


I have teaching experience on the topics of global public health, evolution and human behavior, and the anthropology of Africa.

Recent Publications

Townsend, C., Aktipis, A., Cronk, L., (2021). ‘Does Scarcity Lead to Selfishness?’ Anthropology News website, June 23, 2021.

Townsend, C. (2020, October 5th). 'Neither nasty nor brutish'. Edited by S. Dresser. In Aeon magazine.

Fedurek, P., Lacroix, L., Lehmann, J., Aktipis, A., Cronk, C., Townsend, C., Jerryson Makambi, E., Mabulla, I., Behrends, V., Berbesque, J. C., (2020). 'Status does not predict stress: Women in an egalitarian hunter-gatherer society'. Evolutionary Human Sciences 2(e44).

Townsend, C., Aktipis, A., Balliet, D., Cronk, L. (2020). 'Generosity Among the Ik of Uganda'. Evolutionary Human Sciences 2(e23). doi:10.1017/ehs.2020.22

Cronk, L., Berbesque, C., Conte, T., Gervais, M., Iyer, P., McCarthy, B., Sonkoi, D., Townsend, C., Aktipis, A., (2019). ‘A Global Perspective on Community Risk Management: The Human Generosity Project’, in L. R. Lozny & T. H. McGovern (eds.), Global Perspectives on Long-Term Community Resource Management. Book chapter for the book series Studies in Human Ecology and Adaptation, New York: Springer.