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Durham University

Department of Anthropology


Dr Edward (Jed) Stevenson, PhD MPH

Telephone: 0191 334 0246

(email at


I received my doctorate in Anthropology from Emory University, where I also gained a Master’s degree in Global Health. After two post-doctoral research positions (in Global Health at Emory, and in Evolutionary Anthropology at UCL), I began my teaching career at Durham (2014-15), and then taught medical anthropology at UCL for three years (2015-18). I took up the position of Assistant Professor at Durham in 2018.

My research focuses on the following topics:

  1. Child development. I am interested in how societies’ investments in children shape the kinds of lives children have an opportunity to pursue; and, more broadly, how social and environmental changes get under the skin. My doctoral research followed the development of a cohort of children in Ethiopia over the course of their first years of life, with a focus on the influence of parents’ schooling on patterns of child-rearing and responses to illness.

  2. Hunger and thirst. In collaboration with public health professionals and NGOs, I have carried out mixed-methods research on food and water insecurity in Ethiopia. This has led to new ways of measuring access to water at the household level. 

  3. Social inequalities. Poverty is a fundamental determinant of disease. But how do we measure socio-economic status in settings where wealth is based primarily not on cash income, but on access to livestock or farmland? Or where the currencies in which status is reckoned are contested, or in flux?

My current work examines the intersection of these issues in the context of dam and irrigation schemes that are transforming the landscape of Ethiopia’s Lower Omo Valley (link to Open Access paper here). As co-founder of the Omo-Turkana Research Network, I have helped to bring together researchers across disciplines and from the global North and South to draw attention to the changes underway in this river basin, and the challenges they present for the people of the region.

I encourage prospective PhD students to contact me.

Research Interests

  • Child development
  • Hunger and thirst
  • Mixed methods and epistemologies
  • Socio-ecological change
  • Social inequality
  • Ethiopia
  • Horn of Africa

Selected Publications

Chapter in book

  • Stevenson, E.G.J & Worthman, C.M. (2014). Child Well-Being: Anthropological Perspectives. In Handbook of Child Well-Being: Theories, Methods and Policies in Global Perspective. Ben-Arieh, A., Casas, F., Frønes, I. & Korbin, J.E. Heidelberg: Springer. 485-512.
  • Stevenson, E.G.J. (2013). Maternal education; an Ethiopia. In Sociology of Education: An A-to-Z Guide. Ainsworth, J. Thousand Oaks: Sage.
  • Stevenson, E.G.J & Mekonnen, J. (2012). Two rivers: water and power in Ethiopia. In Environmental Health Narratives: A Reader for Youth. Mendenhall, E. & Koon, A. Albuquerque: University of new Mexico Press.

Journal Article

Newspaper/Magazine Article

Show all publications

Related Links

Selected Grants

  • 2018: Conflict Prevention and Low-Carbon Development - Opportunities for Building and Sustaining Peace through Renewable Energy Projects (£22175.00 from Swedish Research Council)