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Department ofAnthropology

Robin Nelson

Robin Nelson

Assistant Professor

Robin Nelson is a biological anthropologist who utilizes evolutionary theory in studies of  human sociality and health outcomes. Her doctoral research examined variability in received investment from kin and social contacts and phenotypic expression of biological trait indicators of health status amongst Jamaican adults. Her more recent work explores the relationship between health outcomes and residential context for Jamaican children. This project focuses on the growth and development of children living in state-sponsored residential childcare facilities. She examines what happens to the social and physical health of children when the home, as it is articulated in West Indian communities, is not available to them. She is currently developing a project exploring the lives of Caribbean immigrants and their children in Toronto, Canada. With a focus on critical periods of growth and development, she investigates culturally salient forms of social and financial capital and the health of peoples from the Caribbean.

List of classes taught: 

Introduction to Biological Anthropology
Caribbean Health and Culture
Biology of Poverty
Anthropology of Love, Sex, and War
Biological Approaches to Medical Anthropology (also called Evolutionary Medicine)
Demographic Anthropology
Human Growth and Development
Kinship and Health
Modern Family: Science and Social Experiences of Human Familial Bonds
Theory and Current Research in Biological Anthropology


Nelson, R.G. 2016. Enrichment and Isolation: Institutional Care and Challenges to Child Development in Jamaica. Contributed Book Chapter to text on Contexts for young child flourishing: Evolution, family, and society. Eds. Narvaez, D., Braungart-Rieker, J.M., Miller-Graff, L.E., Gettler, L.T., and P.D. Hastings. New York: Oxford University Press.

Nelson, R.G. 2015. Institutional Alloparenting, Place of Residence, and Child Health Outcomes in Jamaica. American Journal of Human Biology

Clancy, K.B.H., Nelson, R.G., Rutherford, J.N., and Hinde, K. 2014. Survey of Academic Field Experiences (SAFE): Trainees Report Harassment and Assault. PLOS One9(7):e102172

Nelson, R.G. 2009. Adult health outcomes and their implications for childhood nutritional stress in Jamaica. American Journal of Human Biology. 21 (5): 671-678.

Curriculum vitae
Curriculum vitae