Introducing the First HRAF Summer Institute for Cross-Cultural Anthropological Research

HRAF Summer Institutes

The National Science Foundation (NSF), in a grant to the Human Relations Area Files (HRAF), is supporting three years of Summer Institutes for Cross-Cultural Anthropological Research (BCS #2020156). These Summer Institutes will train faculty, researchers, and advanced graduate students in the theory and state-of-the art methods for conducting regional and worldwide comparative research. The aim is for these methods to be incorporated into educational courses and cross-cultural research using anthropological data.

The first three-week Summer Institute will be held virtually from July 19, 2021 to August 6, 2021. The program will include lectures, discussion, and hands-on exercises. Each participant will design and execute a pilot project during their time at an Institute. The primary instructors are Carol R. Ember (Human Relations Area Files at Yale University, USA), Fiona Jordan (University of Bristol, UK) and Séan Roberts (Cardiff University, UK). There will be additional lectures by Damián Blasi, Alexandra Brewis Slade, Joshua Conrad Jackson, Jeremy Koster, Eleanor Power, and Amber Wutich.

The instruction at the institute will cover all phases of regional and worldwide comparisons, from project conception through statistical analysis, that are consistent with scientific principles. Topics include:

  • The logic and types of comparisons (including collaborative projects), and the types of research questions asked by cross-cultural researchers
  • Reviews of available data and databases (including a concordance of cross-cultural samples), as well as data management and design of coding materials
  • How to derive testable hypotheses and design appropriate measures from specified theoretical principles
  • Approaches to minimize random and systematic error, sampling strategies and issues of independence
  • Introduction to a wide range of statistical approaches including non-linear and non-normal data, unidimensional scaling, multidimensional scaling and dimension reduction, multilevel modelling and causal graphs, Bayesian approaches, phylogenetic inference and comparative phylogenetic methods, and social network analysis.

The 20 individuals (faculty, post-docs and graduate students) who will attend the first Institute are:

Carl Brusse Australian National University & University of Sydney, Australia
Lucie Clech French National Research Institute for Sustainable Development (IRD-CEPED)
Sabina Cvecek Austrian Archaeological Institute, Vienna, Austria
Thomas Flint Harvard University, Massachusetts, USA
Václav Hrnčíř Czech Academy of Sciences, Institute of Archaeology, Prague, Czechia
Gordon Ingram Universidad de los Andes, Colombia
Jill Jordan University of New Mexico, USA
Joon Hwang Pennsylvania State University, USA
Timothy Knowlton Berry College, Georgia, USA
Kateřina Koppová Masaryk University, Brno, Czech Republic; LEVYNA
Catherine Marley Durham University, UK
Brea McCauley Simon Fraser University, Canada
Helena Miton Santa Fe Institute, New Mexico, USA
Lawrence Monocello The University of Alabama, USA
Valerie van Mulukom Coventry University, United Kingdom
Emily Post University of Utah, USA
Eric Shattuck University of Texas at San Antonio, USA
Dimitris Xygalatas University of Connecticut, USA
Minhua Yan Arizona State University, USA
May Zhang University College London, UK