Professor Mhairi A Gibson

B.A.(Dunelm.), M.Phil.(Cantab.), Ph.D.(U.C.Lond.)

  • BS8 1UU


Research output per year

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Personal profile

Research interests

My research focuses on population and health issues, incorporating theories and methods from human behavioural ecology and anthropology. Based on long-term fieldwork in South-Central Ethiopia I study recent changes in reproductive and parenting decision-making among Arsi Oromo agropastoralists. I also work on the social dynamics of normative practices which are harmful to women and girls. In particular, I am interested in identifying the individual and community factors which explain the persistence of female genital cutting/mutilation and intimate partner violence in high-risk communities.

I welcome research proposals, in particular within Human Behavioural Ecology, Evolutionary Anthropology, and Applied Anthropology. 

Recently supervised student topics include:

  • Testing evolutionary explanations for “harmful cultural traditions”
  • Developing specialized survey techniques for measuring sensitive behaviour
  • Socio-ecology of infectious disease in Uganda
  • Human behavioural ecology of labour migration in Ethiopia
  • Infant feeding practices in Somali-born women in Bristol


Structured keywords and research groupings

  • International Development
  • Cabot Institute Water Research
  • Cabot Institute Food Security Research
  • Cabot Institute Environmental Change Research

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BA Heritage Dignity and Violence GCRF

Gibson, M. A., Gurmu, E. & Alvergne, A.


Project: Research

Measuring harmful cultural practices using randomized response techniques

Gurmu, E., Scott, I. & Gibson, M. A.


Project: Research

Research Output

Bear bile use at the intersection of maternal health in Cambodia

Davis, E. O., Gibson, M. A., Lim, T. & Glikman, J. A., 24 May 2020, In : Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine. 16, 28

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)

Open Access
  • 22 Downloads (Pure)

    Inequality in the household and rural-urban migration in Ethiopian farmers

    Clech, L. C. O. M., Jones, J. H. & Gibson, M. A., 24 Apr 2020, In : Evolutionary Human Sciences. 2, e9.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)

    Open Access
  • 31 Downloads (Pure)

    Measuring Hidden Support for Physical Intimate Partner Violence: A List Randomization Experiment in South-Central Ethiopia

    Gibson, M. A., Gurmu, E., Cobo Rodriguez, B., Rueda, M. D. M. & Scott, I. M. L., 5 May 2020, In : Journal of Interpersonal Violence. 20 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)

    Open Access
  • 55 Downloads (Pure)