College of Arts and Sciences

Department of Anthropology

Dr. Courtney L. Meehan

Ph.D., Washington State University
Associate Professor
Evolutionary and Cultural Anthropology


My current research is centered on life history theory, child development, and reproductive strategies among hunter-gatherers, horticulturalists and agropastoralists. I am PI on a NSF research project focused on understanding the influence of cooperative breeding on children's socioemotional and physical development and parental behavior. I am also co-PI on an international and interdisciplinary NSF grant examining the sociocultural, evolutionary, environmental, and microbial aspects of human milk composition. I conduct research in the Central African Republic (CAR) with the Aka, Ngandu and Mbati, and in SW Ethiopia with the Sidama. I teach courses on evolutionary theory, the anthropology of childhood, and grant writing and professional development.

Recent Courses:

ANTH 302 Childhood and Culture
ANTH 468 Sex, Evolution, and Human Nature
ANTH 591 Evolutionary and Cultural Anthropological Approaches to Childhood
ANTH 591 Grant Writing and Professional Development

    Representative Publications:

    Meehan CL. Helfrecht C. and Quinlan R. 2014. Allomaternal networks and children's nutritional status: is flexibility key to cooperative breeding? American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 153 (4): 513-525.

    Meehan CL. and Hawks S. 2014. Maternal and allomaternal responsiveness: the significance of cooperative caregiving in attachment theory. In Hiltrud Otto and Heidi Keller (eds.) Different Faces of Attachment: Cultural Variations of a Universal Human Need, pp. 113-140. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    Meehan CL. and Hawks S. 2013. Cooperative breeding and attachment among the Aka foragers. In Naomi Quinn & Jeannette Mageo (eds.), Attachment Reconsidered: Cultural Perspectives on a Western Theory, pp. 85-113. New York, NY: Palgrave.

    Meehan CL. 2013. Allomothers and child well-being. In Ben-Arieh, A et al. (eds.), Handbook of Child Well-Being: Theories, Methods and Policies in Global Perspective, pp. 1787-1816. Dorcrecht: Springer.

    Meehan CL. and Roulette JW. 2013. Early supplementary feeding among Central African foragers and farmers: a biocultural approach. Social Science and Medicine, 96:112-120.

    Meehan CL, Quinlan R, and Malcom CD. 2013. Cooperative breeding and maternal energy expenditure among Aka foragers. American Journal of Human Biology, 25(1):42-57.

    Meehan CL. 2009. Maternal time allocation in two cooperative childrearing societies. Human Nature, 20(4): 375-393.

    Meehan CL. 2008. Allomaternal investment and relational uncertainty among the Ngandu farmers of the Central African Republic. Human Nature, 19:211-226.

    Meehan CL. 2005. The effects of residential locality on parental and alloparental care among the Aka foragers of the Central African Republic. Human Nature, 16 (1) 58-80.


    Contact information:

    College Hall 342


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    Department of Anthropology, PO Box 644910, Washington State University, Pullman WA 99164-4910, 509-335-3441, Contact Us