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RCGD/EHAP Winter Seminar Series: Biological Impacts of Climate Change and Women’s Livelihoods Among Bangladeshi Shodagor Communities

Katie Starkweather
Monday, March 11, 2024
2:00-3:30 PM
1430 Institute For Social Research Map
Biological Impacts of Climate Change and Women’s Livelihoods Among Bangladeshi Shodagor Communities
Monday, March 11, 2024 (2 PM – 3:30 PM)

Katie Starkweather
University of Illinois

Human mothers face an adaptive problem. The importance of maternal care and women’s economic contributions to the household throughout evolutionary history and in contemporary societies requires mothers to decide how to allocate their time and energy between work and childcare in ways that support their reproductive success. In Bangladesh, traditionally boat-dwelling, semi-nomadic Shodagor women engage in two different occupations – trading and fishing – that require different trade-offs between time spent in work and in childcare. In this talk, I will discuss these differences and address three questions: 1) What are the social and cultural predictors of variation in women’s work? 2) What role does environmental change play in structuring women’s economic decisions? And 3) Do differences in trade-offs explain differences in fitness consequences for mothers? Examining variation in women’s strategies for solving the adaptive problem of motherhood provides a better understanding of a critical element of human evolution, and also allows scientists to create models to predict how behavior is likely to change in the future in response to ecological changes (e.g., climate change, local disease ecologies) and to predict the impacts of this on human biology.

Dr. Katie Starkweather is an Assistant Professor of Biological Anthropology at the University of Illinois, Chicago. Prior to that, she held two postdoctoral positions, one as an NSF SBE Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of New Mexico and another at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany. She received a PhD in Anthropology from the University of Missouri and a Master’s in Anthropology at the University of Nebraska. Dr. Starkweather works in Matlab, Bangladesh with a group of traditionally boat-dwelling, semi-nomadic Shodagor traders and fishers on issues related to women’s work, parental investment, and household divisions of labor, environmental change, and fitness outcomes associated with these socioecological factors, including reproduction, growth and nutrition, and health outcomes. Dr. Starkweather uses a mixed-methods approach to collect multiple types of cross-sectional and longitudinal data in order to answer research questions associated with her interests, and to address the interests and concerns of the Matlab Shodagor communities.
Building: Institute For Social Research
Event Type: Workshop / Seminar
Tags: Anthropology, Asia, Economics, Sociology, Women's Studies
Source: Happening @ Michigan from Research Center for Group Dynamics (RCGD), Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Institute for Social Research, Department of Anthropology, Department of Sociology, Museum of Anthropological Archaeology, Evolution & Human Adaptations Program (EHAP)