Benjamin Gleeson

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

Ben's early career was spent working in conventional stonefruit orchards and vineyards. He returned to tertiary study in 2006 to complete a Bachelor of Ecological Agriculture at Charles Sturt University. His subsequent Bachelor of Science Honours used ecogeomorphic perspectives to investigate landscape development and change within incised Australian swampy meadow floodplains following European occupation. In 2016, Ben completed an Advanced Master of Biological Anthropology at ANU in which he explored the topic of Human Self-domestication. He is currently extending this research within the Human Ecology program at the Fenner School of Environment and Society.

Research interests

I am fascinated by ecological, agro-ecological, evolutionary, and gender political perspectives of humanity. My work integrates these viewpoints to develop more accurate transdisciplinary narratives of human existence to better inform appropriate human activity especially as related to ecological agriculture, sustainable conservation, and land management.

Broad areas of interest include:

  • Human Evolution
  • Human Ecology
  • Ecological Perspectives of Agriculture
  • The Evolution of Human Social Complexity

Specific interests:

  • Embodied and Materialist analyses of Human Evolution
  • Sex and Gender in Sociocultural Niche Construction
  • Human Self-domestication
  • Ecogeomorphology
  • The Agency of Nature
  • Systems Analyses
  • Agent-Based Modelling


Thesis title: Survival of the Fitted: Human self-domestication and our sociocultural niche.

Description: For the majority of human existence, we have lived in relatively small and mobile groups with ecologically appropriate knowledge systems and technologies. In recent times however, our mode of living has expanded to include vast sedentary populations which rely for their sustenance upon fragmented and specialised social niches and dramatic manipulation of ecological systems. This transdisciplinary research project will examine the evolutionary trajectory of our species from a biological and cultural perspective using current theory regarding processes of human self-domestication. This work will involve the investigation of case studies of human-ecological interaction derived from comparative fieldwork in Australia and Indonesia. These studies will be used to demonstrate a spectrum of socioecological integration, from forest-based subsistence, through polycultural farming, to urban capitalist living reliant upon distant industrialised agribusiness. This project explores the coevolution of human sociocultural and socioecological systems and applies methodologies appropriate to the analysis of these interconnected aspects of human existence. My research aims to provide a significant contribution to current understandings of our biological and socioecological evolution, and will identify strategies to enhance human welfare through better ecological integration.


Gleeson B. and Kushnick G. (in press-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. 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. 2017, ‘Non-Destructive Revegetation: A Novel Approach to Landcare Practice’, Compassionate Conservation Conference, Leura, NSW.