SoA Lecture Series: Dr. Erin Riley, San Diego State University


Apr 21 2022 - 2:00pm

Thursday, April 21, 2022
2:00 p.m.

Via Zoom

Title: Human-primate interfaces: Ethnoprimatology, integrative anthropology, and sustainable coexistence in the Anthropocene

Summary: Most remaining populations of primates live in environments that have been influenced in some way by humans. The complexity of these human-primate interfaces, which in some cases are long-standing and in other cases, emerging, necessitates integrative research approaches that draw from both the natural and social sciences. Ethnoprimatology, which focuses on how humans and other primates behave together, co-shaping each other’s ecology, sociality, and evolutionary trajectories, represents one such approach. In this talk, using examples from my field research on the human-macaque interface in Indonesia, I will explore the promise of the ethnoprimatological approach in fostering an integrative anthropology, more pluralistic approaches to scientific inquiry, and the sustainable coexistence of humans and other primates in the 21st century and beyond.

Bio: Erin P. Riley is a Professor in the Department of Anthropology and the Assistant Dean in the College of Graduate Studies at San Diego State University. Drawing from primatology, conservation ecology, and sociocultural and environmental anthropology, her research focuses on primate behavioral and ecological flexibility in the face of anthropogenic change and the conservation implications of the ecological and cultural interconnections between human and nonhuman primates. With notable publications in American Anthropologist, Evolutionary Anthropology, American Journal of Primatology, and Oryx, her work spearheaded the field of “ethnoprimatology.” Dr. Riley is also interested in the ethics of primate fieldwork, and was a leading member of an international steering committee that produced the Code of Best Practices for Field Primatology. Her field research on the interface between humans and macaques (Macaca spp.) in Indonesia and Florida has been funded by the National Geographic Society/Waitt Foundation, the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research, the Wildlife Conservation Society, the National Science Foundation, and the American Institute for Indonesian Studies. Her most recent book, published in September 2019 by Routledge, is titled The Promise of Contemporary Primatology.


For more information, contact: Dr. Linda Green (
or Charla Dain (

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