Department of Anthropology

Zachary H. Garfield

Advisor: Edward H. Hagen
Position: PhD student
Office: VMMC 207

Curriculum vitae: PDF

Biographical sketch

I received a B.A. with highest distinction in anthropology and psychology from the University of Nebraska‒Lincoln in 2012 and completed my M.A. in evolutionary anthropology at WSU in 2015.

ResearchGate profile
Google Scholar profile
Twitter: @zhgarfield


My research focuses on political leadership and understanding strategies of leadership and followership in small-scale societies. I use comparative methods and behavioral-observational research to evaluate established theoretical models. My Master's thesis tested three evolutionary theoretical models of leadership cross-culturally in the ethnographic record.

In my cross-cultural research, I am currently working on assessing the qualities and functions of leaders and the costs and benefits of leadership for both leaders and followers across distinct domains of social behavior. For example, how do the traits of military leaders compare to work-group or spiritual leaders across traditional societies? And, what types of leaders are receiving the most substantial reproductive, social, or economic benefits relative to followers? The next phase of my comparative ethnographic research seeks to answer such questions.

I conduct fieldwork in the Sheka forest of Southwest Ethiopia with the Chabu forager-horticulturalists and am investigating the utility of the dominance-prestige model, and others, in understanding formal leadership positions and sex-differences in leadership. The Ethiopian government has implemented the Kebele system of neighborhood administration among the Chabu, which involves electing individuals for specific leadership roles. My Ph.D. research investigates the nature of this hierarchical leadership system in the context of an egalitarian social structure.

Future field research with the Chabu will more specifically investigate the ontogeny of leadership, leadership in large-scale collective activities, the role of charisma in religious leadership, the function of leadership in musical performance, and the role of perceived supernatural abilities and expertise in clan-based prestige.

Video and photography from the field:

The Chabu forager-horticulturalists video playlist

Original photogrpahy: The Chabu of Southwest Ethiopia

Research projects

Selected publications

Articles and Chapters

LNK Garfield ZH, Von Rueden CR, Hagen EH 2018. The evolutionary anthropology of political leadership. The Leadership Quarterly.
LNK Hames RH, Garfield ZG, Garfield MJ 2017. Is Male Androphilia a Context-Dependent Cross-CulturalUniversal? Archives of Sexual Behavior.
PDF Garfield ZH, Garfield MJ, Hewlett BS 2016. A Cross-Cultural Analysis of Hunter-Gatherer Social Learning, In: Social Learning and Innovation in Contemporary Hunter-Gatherers, Hideaki Terashima and Barry Hewlett (ed.). Springer, 16-34.
PDF Syme KL, Garfield ZH, Hagen EH 2015. Testing the bargaining vs. inclusive fitness models of suicidal behavior against the ethnographic record. Evolution and Human Behavior.
LNK VanderLaan DP, Garfield ZH, Garfield MJ, Leca JP, Vasey PL, Hames RH 2014. The “female fertility–social stratification–hypergyny” hypothesis of male homosexual preference: factual, conceptual and methodological errors in Barthes et al. [Commentary]. Evolution and Human Behavior, 35, 445-447.


LNK Garfield ZG 2017. Men’s Egoistic Dominant Acts. Encyclopedia of Evolutionary Psychological Science, 1-3.
LNK Garfield ZH 2017. Dominant Acts Expressed (Buss, 1981). Encyclopedia of Evolutionary Psychological Science, 1-6.
LNK Garfield ZH, Garfield MJ 2017. Women’s Prosocial Dominant Acts. Encyclopedia of Evolutionary Psychological Science, 1-4.

Focus group interview with young adults at the Chabu village Jifor.
Click markers for more info. Archaeological: Ethnographic: