Postdoctoral Scholar Position

University of California, Santa Barbara; Postdoctoral Scholar

The Department of Anthropology at the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB), invites applications for a full-time Postdoctoral Scholar position in the area of evolutionary anthropology or population health. The position will remain open until filled, but applicants are advised to submit their applications by Sept 2nd, 2016 for primary consideration. The start date will ideally be January 2017, with some degree of flexibility on either side. The position will be initially for one year with the potential for further renewal contingent on satisfactory performance and funding.

The applicant will take a key role in the development of a recently initiated field project based in rural Tanzania exploring relationships between family structure and maternal and child wellbeing, led by Professor David W. LawsonAmong other topics, the project will focus on the wellbeing implications of child marriage and the factors influencing this practice in the context of economic, demographic and social change. Tanzania has one of the highest child marriage prevalence rates in the world, with almost two out of five girls married before their 18th birthday. Concerns about child marriage in the international development sector center on lack of consent, the use of bridewealth payments akin to commoditizing women, and the apparent negative consequences on wellbeing, particularly via school drop-out and the elevated health risks of early pregnancy. To better understand this practice, the research project will consider questions such as: (i) what factors lead to context-dependency in the potential harms of child marriage?; (ii) what, if any, potential ‘benefits’ to child marriage (for individuals or their kin) may motivate the practice in certain contexts?; and (iii) what evidence is there to support a threshold of 18 years in consideration of the harms of child marriage?  It is anticipated the project will contribute to current debates in both development policy and (evolutionary) anthropological accounts of human marriage practices.

The postdoctoral appointment is part of an international collaboration between scholars at UCSB, the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and the Tanzanian National Institute for Medical Research in Mwanza. It is anticipated that the applicant will play a part in every aspect of this project, including research design, project administration (e.g., obtaining ethical approvals, ordering and programming equipment), data collection and data management. As such the post offers an exciting opportunity to join the research project at a key juncture, with opportunities for lasting collaborative research relationships beyond the advertised post. Ideal applicants will have an educational and research background in evolutionary anthropology, population health or demography with a proven track record of project completion, including publication in peer-reviewed journals. Applicants with experience using the software packages Stata and Open Data Kit (ODK) will be favoured. Field experience, especially the collection of demographic household surveys and/or anthropometric measurement, is desirable, but not necessary, since experienced fieldworkers in Tanzania will facilitate data collection. It is anticipated that the successful applicant will travel to Tanzania, but the length of stay is negotiable. Language ability in Swahili is desirable, but not essential.

Terms and conditions of employment are subject to UC policy and any appropriate collective bargaining agreement. Annual salary will be in the range of $43,692 to $53,160 depending on experience and qualifications. Fringe benefits such as medical, dental, disability and vision insurance are also included. To apply for this post please email [as a single PDF file] (i) a 1-2 page cover letter explaining your suitability to the advertised post, (ii) a CV with names and addresses of three referees, (iii) a 1-2 page description of relevant research achievements, along with (iv) copies of two recent publications to: Professor David W. Lawson at

Information about the UCSB Department of Anthropology, and the Integrative Anthropological Sciences Unit, is available through the Department’s Home Page, The department is especially interested in candidates who can contribute to the diversity and excellence of the academic community through research, teaching, and service. The University of California is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability status, protected veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law.