Academic Resources

This page contains a list of primarily anthropological, but also general social science resources—books, papers, films, and other relevant materials—that I consider informative, or have otherwise enjoyed. I do not necessarily endorse everything in these—or any—works other than my own, but I consider everything on here worth checking out. Links are offered where materials are publicly available. This list will likely be expanded considerably in the future.

Book recommendations

I have broken these recommendations up into categories based on similarities these works share in terms of modes of analysis/theoretical framework and time.

Early Comparative (1890’s-1950’s)

The History of Human Marriage (1891) by Edward Westermarck

Slavery as an Industrial System (1900) by H.J. Nieboer

Primitive Secret Societies (1908) by Hutton Webster

Totemism and Exogamy [volumes I-IV] (1910) by James Frazer

Our Primitive Contemporaries (1934) by George Peter Murdock

Early Quantitative (1940’s-1970’s)

Social Structure (1949) by George Peter Murdock

The Status of Women in Preindustrial Societies (1978) by Martin King Whyte

Late Comparative (1970’s-Today)

Manhood in the Making (1990) by David Gilmore

Sick Societies (1992) by Robert B. Edgerton

The Lifeways of Hunter-Gatherers (1995) by Robert L. Kelly

Late Quantitative (1980’s-Today)

Constructing Frames of Reference: An Analytical Method for Archaeological Theory Building Using Ethnographic and Environmental Data Sets (2001) by Lewis Binford


Apostolou, M. 2007. Sexual Selection Under Parental Choice: The Role of Parents in the Evolution of Human Mating. Evolution and Human Behavior.

Apostolou, M. 2010. Sexual selection under parental choice in agropastoral societies. Evolution and Human Behavior.

Glowacki, L. & Wrangham, R. 2013. The Role of Rewards in Motivating Participation in Simple Warfare. Human Nature.

Glowacki, L. & von Rueden. 2015. Leadership solves collective action problems in small-scale societies. Phil. Trans. R. Soc. B.

Glowacki, L. & Wrangham, R. 2015. Warfare and reproductive success in a tribal population. PNAS.

Jaeggi, A.V. et al. 2016. Obstacles and catalysts of cooperation in humans, bonobos, and chimpanzees: behavioural reaction norms can help explain variation in sex roles, inequality, war and peace. Behaviour.

Knauft, B. 1987. Reconsidering Violence in Simple Human Societies. Current Anthropology.

Marlowe, F. 2003. The Mating System of Foragers in the Standard Cross-Cultural Sample. Cross-Cultural Research.

Marlowe, F. 2005. Hunter-Gatherers and Human Evolution. Evolutionary Anthropology.

Rosaldo, M.Z. 1974. ‘Woman, Culture and Society: A Theoretical Overview’ in M.Z. Rosaldo and L. Lamphere (eds) Woman, Culture and Society. Stanford: Stanford University Press.

Sahlins, M. 1963. Poor Man, Rich Man, Big-Man, Chief: Political Types in Melanesia and Polynesia. Comparative Studies in Society and History.

Singh, M. 2018. The cultural evolution of shamanism. Behavioral and Brain Sciences.

Smuts, B. 1992. Male aggression against women: an evolutionary perspective. Human Nature.

Walker, R.S. et al. 2011. Evolutionary History of Hunter-Gatherer Marriage Practices. PLoS One

Wrangham, R. & Glowacki, L. 2012. Intergroup Aggression in Chimpanzees and War in Nomadic Hunter-Gatherers: Evaluating the Chimpanzee Model. Human Nature.

Cross-Cultural Volumes (1980’s-Today)

Rituals of Manhood (1982) edited by Gilbert Herdt

Gender in Amazonia and Melanesia: An Exploration of the Comparative Method (2001) edited by Thomas Gregor and Donald Tuzin

Human Behavioral Ecology/Sociobiology (1980’s-Today)

Despotism and Differential Reproduction: A Darwinian View of Human History (1983) by Laura Betzig

Homicide (1988) by Martin Daly and Margo Wilson

The Origin of War: The Evolution of a Male-Coalitional Reproductive Strategy (1995) by J.M.G. van der Dennen.

Why Sex Matters: A Darwinian Look at Human Behavior (2000) by Bobbi S. Low

Adaptation and Human Behavior (2000) edited by Lee Cronk, Napoleon Chagnon, and William Irons

Mammalian Behavioral Ecology/Primatology (1980’s-Today)

Primeval Kinship (2008) by Bernard Chapais

Mammal Societies (2016) by Tim Clutton-Brock

Chimpanzees and Human Evolution (2017) edited by Martin Mueller, Richard Wrangham, and David Pilbeam

General Social Science/History/Biography

The Campaigns of Napoleon (1966) by David G. Chandler

Coup d'Etat: A Practical Handbook (1968) by Edward Luttwak

Women’s Work: The First 20,000 Years (1994) by Elizabeth Wayland Barber

Understanding Early Civilizations (2003) by Bruce Trigger.

Codes of the Underworld (2009) by Diego Gambetta

Ethnographic Films

The Hunters (1958) Part 1 and Part 2

Dead Birds (1963) —12 minute clip

—The book Gardens of War (1968) by Robert Gardner, the anthropologist who made the film, is also worth checking out.

A Man Called “Bee”: Studying the Yanomamo (1975)

Fictionalized ethnographic films

In The Land of the Headhunters (1914)

Nanook of the North (1922)

Cannibal Tours (1988)

The Human Systems and Behavior Lab


Omo Valley Culture and Behavior Project

Cross-Cultural Databases

D-PLACE – Database of Places, Language, Culture, and Environment

Standard Cross-Cultural Sample Codebook

Ethnographic Atlas Codebook