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PhD in Anthropology, May 2013

University of Durham, Durham, UK

Thesis:  “No one can kill the drought: Understanding complexity in the relationship between drought and conflict amongst pastoralists in northern Kenya”

Access thesis here

Advisors:  Prof. Robert Layton, Dr Kate Hampshire

Examiners:  Prof. Katherine Homewood, Prof. Paul Sillitoe


MPhil in Biological Anthropology, April 2007

University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK

Thesis:  “Understanding the Evolution of Interpersonal Violence Amongst Hominin Species Through Osteological Analysis and Ethnographic Sampling”

Advisor:  Dr Jay Stock


BA in Anthropology, May 2001

The Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD, USA

Minor:  Hispanic Studies


BA Coursework in Anthropology, 2000

Universidad de Chile, Santiago, Chile

Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Santiago, Chile





ODK Data Toolkit

IRB Development

Experimental Design


Participatory Research


Household Surveys

Semi-structured Interviewing

Ecological Surveys



English -     Native

Spanish -   Proficient

Swahili -     Basic

Maa -          Basic

​Kiborana - Basic

Kirendille - Basic


Research Consultant
Washington DC
Indicia Consulting
Savannas Forever Tanzania
2018 - Present
  • Writing proposals, designing methodologies and field logistics for formative and summative research projects, negotiating budgets, and conducting mixed-methods evaluations for international clients.
    ● Collaborating remotely across large networks of researchers, clients, and participants to deliver insights and analyses under tight deadlines.

Research Associate /
Templeton Postdoctoral Researcher
Arizona State University, AZ
Northern Kenya
2014 - Present
  • Field-based researcher leading qualitative and experimental investigations of root causes of human conflict and community cooperation.

  • Training and managing teams of Kenyan field assistants (in situ and remotely) across 25+ sites, among 4 pastoral ethnic groups to collect data for deadline-driven projects.

  • Employing strong quantitative skills to test theories of socio-ecological determinants of cooperation and conflict among developing communities.

  • Synthesizing large-scale, multi-sited household project data for publication and international presentations.

Master's Capstone Instructor
Durham Global Securities Institute (DGSI), University of Durham, UK
2011 - 2012
  • Group leader on Master’s-level program simulating conflict scenarios, resolution strategies, peacebuilding tools, and the delivery of development initiatives within volatile environments.

  • Co-author of course handbook detailing issues of socio-cultural complexity in understanding conflict dynamics and obstacles to peacebuilding in an international setting.

Zeit-Stiftung Fellow Doctoral Researcher
Northern Kenya
2009 - 2013
  • Conducted extended field study (20 months in situ) incorporating qualitative and quantitative methodologies to investigate complexity in the relationship between varying socio-ecological conditions and inter-ethnic resource conflict among three pastoralist groups.

Postgraduate Teaching Assistant
Dept. of Anthropology, University of Durham, UK

2008 - 2009

  • Instructed seminars and practicals in human evolutionary studies and human health and ecology for 1st and 2nd year undergraduates. 

  • Graded undergraduate summative essays and provided constructive feedback for more than 300 students.

Research Coordinator
Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, MD
Oxford University, UK
Earthwatch Institute, MA


  • Assisted in coordination of data collection and field monitoring of HSBC-sponsored $35 million Climate Change Partnership, maximizing learning outcomes and environmental behavior change for donor-clients.

  • Onsite liaison between researchers, donor-clients, and ~100 field assistants to effectively manage expectations and ensure each group’s objectives were achieved and reported to stakeholders.


Science Officer, Social Sciences Program
and Earth and Marine Program
Earthwatch Institute, MA


  • Managed proposal development and funding allocation of the international social sciences research program. 

  • Handled the analysis of the scientific peer review process for all proposals and managed proposals’ logistical design and budgeting.

  • Wrote and presented bi-weekly evaluation reports to international executive staff when making programmatic funding and operational decisions.

Interpretive Guide
Metropolitan District Commission, MA


  • Developed public educational programs on the history of Fort Andrews, relating to the island’s natural and cultural heritage. 

  • Monitored and conducted a qualitative study on how tourists utilize island environments and their impacts on the natural environment.



Forensic Intern
Baltimore Police Mobile Crime Laboratory, MD


  • Investigated and documented crime scenes through photography and evidence recovery. 

  • Assisted in the processing and analysis of crimes related to homicide, theft, arson, and narcotics trade / use.



CITI: Social and Behavioral Research I & II

CITI: Responsible Conduct of Research

ASA: Ethics in working with human subjects




Awards / Honors

'09-'11:    Zeit-Stiftung Fellowship

'09:           Sir Richard Stapley Scholarship

'08-'11:    Durham Academic Scholarship

'08-'09:    Durham Anthropology Postgraduate

                  Teaching Bursary

'97-'01:     Johns Hopkins University Academic

                  Merit Grant

'97:           Killingly High School Class Valedictorian



US Permanent Resident

British Citizen​


American Evaluation Association

2019 - Present

Society for International Development

2017 - Present

National Association for the Practice of Anthropology

2017 - Present

Washington Association of Professional Anthropologists

2017 - Present

American Anthropological Association

2017 – Present


Adaptation, Behavior, Culture and Society (ABC’S) Research Group

2014 – 2018

Durham Global Securities Institute (DGSI)


Institute of Hazard, Risk, Resilience Research (IHRR)


​The Biosocial Society


Evolutionary Anthropology Research Group (EARG)


Anthropology in Development Research Group (AID)






Purzyki, BG., A. Willard...CS Handley (manuscript submitted).  The Moralization Bias of Gods’ Minds: A Cross-Cultural Test.  Religion, Brain & Behavior

Baimel, A...CS Handley (manuscript submitted).  Material insecurity predicts greater commitment only to moralistic deities:  A cross-cultural investigation.  Religion, Brain & Behavior

Handley, C., Mathew, S. (2020).  Human large-scale cooperation as a product of competition between cultural groups. Nature Communications 11(702)

Lang, M, BG Purzyki…CS Handley (2019).  Moralizing gods, impartiality and religious parochialism across 15 societies.  Proceedings of the Royal Society B 286(1898)

Handley, CS (2018).  Situating anthropological genetics within local beliefs in pastoral Kenya.  Invited speaker for AAAS-hosted Biological Anthropology and Dialogue with Diverse Publics Symposium at the AAPA Annual Conference, Austin, TX


Handley, CS (2017).  Is the cultural boundary also the moral boundary?  A cross-cultural test of cultural group selection.  Presented at The Human Behavior and Evolution Society, Boise, Idaho


Handley, CS (2017).  Turkana.  The Database of Religious History.  Retrieved from


Handley, CS (2017).  Effects of supernatural beliefs on prosocial behaviour:  The Turkana of northern Kenya.  Presented at the Cultural Evolution of Religion Research Consortium, Harvard University, Cambridge

Handley, CS (2016).  Testing cultural group selection:  A cross-cultural study among four East African pastoralist groups.  Presented at the Institute of Human Origins Templeton Research Symposium, Tempe, AZ

Handley, CS (2013).  No one can kill the drought:  Understanding complexity in the relationship between drought and conflict amongst pastoralists in northern Kenya.  Durham theses, Durham University.


McClure, E and CS Handley (2013).  Second issue of RAI's first annual postgraduate conference 2011.  Durham Anthropology Journal 19(1):  7-9


Handley, CS, EI McClure, MAZ Mughal (2012).  Report on the First Annual Royal Anthropological Institute Postgraduate Conference.  Anthropology Today 28(3): 28-29


Conference Organizer (2011).  First Annual Royal Anthropological Institute Postgraduate Conference, Durham UK


Handley, CS (2011).  Conflict as a Disruptive Force Affecting Pastoralist Adaptations to Resource Scarcity in Northern Kenya.  Presented at Durham Anthropology Postgraduate Conference, Durham UK


Handley, CS (2011).  Re-evaluating the ‘New Thinking’ in Rangeland Management:  Perspectives from Northern Kenya’s Changing Mobility Patterns.  Presented at Settling into Motion Conference on Migration, Hamburg, Germany


Handley, CS (2010).  Changing Climate, Changing Behavior:  Effects of Environmental Change on Pastoral Adaptations in Northern Kenya.  Presented at Settling into Motion Conference on Migration, Berlin, Germany


Handley, CS (2009).  Human Behavioral Adaptations to Extreme Drought Conditions Amongst Pastoral Communities in Northern Kenya.  Presented at Durham Anthropology Postgraduate Conference, Durham UK


Handley, CS (2006).  Models of Social Learning Transmission in Non-human Primates.  Poster presentation at the University of Cambridge Biological Anthropology Postgraduate Conference, Cambridge UK


Television Appearance (2005).  "Earthwatch Institute:  A Model for Volunteer Research."  Yulin, China


Conference Co-organizer and Presenter (2004).  “Reporting Field Results” and “Training Volunteers on Research Methodologies.”  Earthwatch Institute Annual PI Conference, Boston, MA



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