Zachary H. Garfield

Zach conducting interviews with Chabu men
Zach conducting interviews with Chabu men
  • PhD student, Evolutionary Anthropology
  • Leadership and followership, social organization, status hierarchies, social learning, decision-making cognition
  • Graduated: 2019
  • Advisor: Edward H. Hagen
  • Curriculum vitae: PDF

Biographical sketch ▾

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 Ph.D. in evolutionary anthropology at WSU in 2019.

Currently, I am a Research Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study in Toulouse and maintain an affiliation with WSU as Adjunct Faculty.

ResearchGate profile
Google Scholar profile
Twitter: @zhgarfield

Research statement ▾

Research statement

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 with systematic data from small-scale societies. 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 photography: The Chabu of Southwest Ethiopia

Projects ▾


Books ▾


Publications ▾


PDF Garfield ZH, Von Rueden CR, Hagen EH 2019. The evolutionary anthropology of political leadership. The Leadership Quarterly, 30, 59-80.
PDF Garfield ZH and Hagen EH 2019. Investigating evolutionary models of leadership among recently settled Ethiopian hunter-gatherers. The Leadership Quarterly.
PDF Garfield ZH, Hubbard R, Hagen EH 2019. Evolutionary models of leadership: tests and synthesis. Human Nature.
LNK Garfield ZH, Garfield MJ 2017. Women’s Prosocial Dominant Acts. Encyclopedia of Evolutionary Psychological Science, 1-4.
LNK Garfield ZH 2017. Dominant Acts Expressed (Buss, 1981). Encyclopedia of Evolutionary Psychological Science, 1-6.
LNK Hames RH, Garfield ZG, Garfield MJ 2017. Is Male Androphilia a Context-Dependent Cross-CulturalUniversal? Archives of Sexual Behavior.
LNK Garfield ZH 2017. Men’s Egoistic Dominant Acts. Encyclopedia of Evolutionary Psychological Science, 1-3.
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.