Center for Studies in Demography and Ecology

Geoffrey Kushnick

Funded Fellow 2005
Non-Certificate Demographic Trainee
Anthropology PhD 2006

Geoff is an evolutionary anthropologist with expertise in human behavioural ecology, which in its very broadest sense is the study of human behaviour in evolutionary perspective. Although he was trained as a four-field anthropologist, his primary interests are in biological and cultural anthropology. He studied at the master’s level under Beth Strasser, a primate morphologist with interests in human and primate evolution. At the doctoral level, he studied under Eric Alden Smith, one of founders of human behavioural ecology. The other two members of his doctoral committee, Donna Leonetti and Darryl Holman, also served as apt mentors, especially with regards to the demographic and statistical dimensions of his project. In 2006, Geoff earned a PhD in Biocultural Anthropology from the University of Washington. His dissertation was based on 12 months of quantitative ethnographic fieldwork on parent-offspring interactions among the Karo people of North Sumatra, Indonesia, conducted with a Dissertation Improvement Grant from the National Science Foundation (USA).

After earning his PhD, Geoff was hired as a full-time faculty member at the University of Washington. He made a lasting impact on students, having had 2500 enrolled in my classes over 7 years, while working hard to keep an active research program. His career turned a corner when he was invited to join the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council’s “Culture and the Mind” Project (which stemmed from his collaborations with Dan Fessler from UCLA), and was then awarded a Fulbright Scholars Grant. In July, 2014, he started his current job as a Lecturer in the School of Archaeology and Anthropology at The Australian National University. He regards it as an honor to work at the only university in Australia that offers degree-granting programs in biological anthropology.