Summer Institute 2023 Recap 

Summer Institute 2023 participantsOur third NSF-supported Summer Institute for Cross-Cultural Anthropological Research was held on the Yale University campus this summer. It was an intense and exciting three weeks for the instructors and the 12 participants that included a hefty mix of instruction, hands-on exercises, and designing a cross-cultural mini-project.. The names of the participants, their institutions, and a brief summary of their projects is shown below. 

The participants who attended the institute came from a variety of backgrounds, including cultural anthropology, psychology, archaeology, and evolutionary anthropology/biology. The topics and theories explored were very diverse, but most participants focused on some aspect of cultural variation. 

A chart with all the participants’ topics can be found below. The main instructors were Carol Ember, Fiona Jordan, and Séan Roberts. The guest instructors, who presented virtually (not shown in the photo) included Damian Blasi, Alexandra Brewis Slade, Joshua Conrad Jackson, Eleanor Power, Erik Ringen, and Amber Wutich. 

Participants in the Second Summer Institute for Cross-Cultural Anthropological Research (July 17 – August 4, 2023) 

Name  Institution  Project  
Tristin Agtarap  Brunel University London  Cultural Variations of Menstruation 
Pietro Beltrame  Arizona State University  Responses to the introduction of metal among traditional societies in Southeast Asia and Oceania 
Andrew Buskell  Georgia Institute of Technology  Ontic Risk and Cultural Classification 
Michelle Escasa-Dorne  University of Colorado Colorado Springs  Sources of Pregnancy Information Across Cultures 
Kate Finley  Hope College  Concepts of the Mind and Self 
Erhao Ge  University College London  Gender Bias in Participation of Religious Rituals 
Ben Gelbert  University of California Santa Barbara  Jealousy, Aggression, & Sorcery in Polygynous Societies 
Maisy Hallam  University of Edinburgh  Gender Categories in Kinship, Language, and Society 
Verenice Heredia  El Colegio de Michoacán  A preliminary cross-cultural exploration of staple foods and their roles in ritual 
Rohan Kapitany  Keele University  What is the Form and Function of Divinatory Practices? 
Jill Thompson  University of Bradford  The ethnobotany of sedges: cross cultural comparisons applied to paleoethnobotany  
Sharon Young  The University of Southern Mississippi  Sources of Pregnancy Information Across Cultures 


We anticipate that some of these projects will become published papers and we look forward to further developments!

Below are some published or submitted papers from earlier summer institutes: 

Shilton, Dor, Sam Passmore, and Patrick E. Savage. (2023) “Group singing is globally dominant and associated with social context.” 

Hrnčíř, V. (2023). The Use of Wooden Clubs and Throwing Sticks among Recent Foragers: Cross-Cultural Survey and Implications for Research on Prehistoric Weaponry. Human Nature, 34(1), 122-152.

Medupe, D., Roberts, S. G., Shenk, M. K., & Glowacki, L. (2023). Why did foraging, horticulture and pastoralism persist after the Neolithic transition? The oasis theory of agricultural intensification. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B, 378(1883), 20220300. 

Geis, L., d’Errico, F., Jordan, F.M., Brenet, M., & Queffelec, A. (accepted). Multiproxy analysis of Upper Palaeolithic lustrous gravels. PLoS ONE. Preprint: 

Knowlton, T, Roberts, S. G. (submitted). Explaining Mythical Composite Monsters in a Global Cross-Cultural Sample. Journal of Cognition and Culture.