Ben Gleeson

M.BioAnth(Adv), B.Sci(Hons), B.LndMgt(EcoAg)
PhD Student

Ben is a transdisciplinary human ecologist with a strong interest in the evolution of contemporary human socioecologies. He has a background in ecological agriculture and biological anthropology with a focus on human behavioural ecology. His present research incorporates evolutionary and material-ecofeminist perspectives to examine links between masculine social dominance and violence, and our present social and ecological crises.

This work incorporates two main threads: First, it examines processes of human self-domestication whereby evolutionary reduction in reactive forms of masculine aggression allowed for greater human sociability, facilitating the adaptive cultural niche we now occupy. Second, it explores the ways in which masculine interpersonal dominance and social competition continue to influence human behaviour and interaction to drive exploitative social and ecological outcomes.

Ben’s 2019 fieldwork in West Sumatra compared relative levels of socioecological coproduction and cultural recognition of natural agency across three diverse cultivated landscapes: Mentawaian forest subsistence, Minangkabau forestry and rice terracing, and contemporary lowland palm oil production.

Ben is an avid, if unconventional, volunteer landcarer, who, together with his partner, is raising three unique humans and handcrafting a family home in rural NSW. He acts as senior tutor for the Sustainable Development course at the Fenner School.

Research interests

  • Human self-domestication
  • The evolution of human social complexity
  • Sex and gender in sociocultural niche construction
  • Human–nature coproduction of socioecological systems
  • Ecological/evolutionary perspectives of agriculture
  • Agricultural ecogeomorphology
  • Agent-based modelling


Gleeson, Ben Thomas. (2020). Masculinity and the Mechanisms of Human Self-Domestication. Adaptive Human Behavior and Physiology.

Bruner, E., & Gleeson, B. T. (2019). Body Cognition and Self-Domestication in Human Evolution. Frontiers in Psychology, 10.

Gleeson, Ben T. (2019). Human Self-Domestication. In T. K. Shackelford & V. A. Weekes-Shackelford (Eds.), Encyclopedia of Evolutionary Psychological Science (pp. 1–3). Springer International Publishing.

Gleeson B. and Kushnick G. (2018), ‘Female status, food security, and stature sexual dimorphism: Testing mate choice as a mechanism in human self-domestication’, American Journal of Physical Anthropology.

Gleeson B. (2016), ‘Cultivating Ecological Perception: Creativity within Undergraduate Explorations of Human Ecology and Ecological Agriculture’, Plumwood Mountain: An Australian Journal of Ecopoetry and Ecopoetics, Vol. 3, 1.

Gleeson B. (2015), ‘Terra Nullius in Australian Environmentalism and Agriculture: Implications for ecologically based intra-action within a living landscape’ PAN: Philosophy, Activism, Nature, No. 11.



Gleeson B. 2021, ‘Masculine Behavioural Dynamics in Human Self-domestication’, Biological Anthropology Research Seminars, School of Archaeology and Anthropology, ANU.

Gleeson B. 2018, ‘Male violence and self-domestication in human evolution’, Australasian Society for Human Biology 33rd Annual Conference, Advances in Human Biology: Education, Research and Technology, James Cook University, Townsville, Queensland, Australia.

Gleeson B. 2017, ‘Agroecology and Ecogeomorphology: Novel Ecosystems Perspectives May Aid Rehabilitation of Eroded Grazing Landscapes’, Society for Human Ecology Conference, University of the Philippines Los Baños, Philippines.

Gleeson B. 2016, ‘The Effect of Female Social Status on Human Stature Sexual Dimorphism: Evidence of Self-Domestication?’, ANU Student Research Conference.

2013— ‘Landcare of the future’, Once and Future Landscape Care Forum with Bill Gammage and Bruce Pascoe at the Braidwood Two-Fires Festival of Arts and Activism.



Gleeson B. 2019, ‘Male Violence and Social Dominance: An Integrated approach is overdue’, NECTAR Collaboration Across the Boundaries Conference, ANU, Acton, ACT.

Gleeson B. 2017, ‘Non-Destructive Revegetation: A Novel Approach to Landcare Practice’, Compassionate Conservation Conference, Leura, NSW.