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Carol Worthman

Carol Worthman

Samuel Candler Dobbs Professor

Department of Anthropology
Emory University
Atlanta, GA 30322
  • PhD Harvard University 1978
  • Biological anthropology
  • Human reproduction
  • Human development
  • Biocultural and life history theory
  • Developmental epidemiology

Although the lines of inquiry in which I am actively involved are diverse and several, they are unified by a central focus, upon the biocultural interface. Biocultural dimensions of the human condition remain largely uncharted and represent immense opportunity for anthropological investigation, for the empirical, theoretical, and pedagogical formulation of new ways to understand what it is to be human. Human development and reproduction each represent arenas in which the interplay of biology and culture are especially central, so these form major themes in my research and teaching. Study topics have included causes and consequences of variation in maturation schedules, applications of life history theory, determinants of infant feeding and birth spacing, and variation in male life history and reproduction. Other areas, such as behavioral biology, arousal and attention regulation, developmental epidemiology (including of risk for psychiatric disorders), and comparative ecology of human sleep, are emerging areas of intensifying research and theorization. All this work is not only my personal, individual endeavor, but also intercalates with and relies on outstanding collaborative colleagues and students as well as others in the US and abroad in the Laboratory for Comparative Human Biology.

My research is animated by more than a passionate interest in understanding the human condition, though that is a central moving force. Rather, it aims to contribute to intelligent human being-in-the-world, based on a conviction that how we understand human nature and culture influences and legitimates our behavior, values, and decisions. Hence, my goals are as much practical as intellectual, aimed to illuminate the pathways to differential human well-being and thereby to both critique existing social conditions and point the way toward redressing and forestalling distress and inequity. Unlike many human biologists, then, I am concerned as much with psychological as physical development and health. Like many biological anthropologists, I also see biology as a lens through which we can gain fresh insight into culture and its large but bounded roles in human behavior and experience.

  • ANT 210 Human Biology through the Life Cycle
  • ANT 321 Anthropology of Human Reproduction and Reproductive Health
  • ANT 385S Biosocial Approaches to Global Health
  • ANT 501 Proseminar in Anthropology
  • ANT 507 Human Biology