About Stephen

I am an anthropologist and currently a visiting professor in the Department of Biology at the University of Ottawa, Canada. I will be a visiting scholar in the Department of Culture & Media Studies, Umeå University, from April 1st, 2016. I completed my PhD in Biological Anthropology at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and my Masters in International Relations at the School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), the Johns Hopkins University, in Washington, DC. I conducted my undergraduate studies at the University of Ottawa, Canada in mathematics.

I have a wide range of research interests, including the evolution of cooperation, the geography of trust, and human diet and health. In the area of cooperation, I considered the question of why cooperation is very rare in the animal kingdom. My work, published in the Journal of Theoretical Biology, suggests that the fundamental problem with animal cooperation is that it invariably breaks down in the earliest stages. In the area of trust, I considered the question of why some countries are more trusting than others. In a paper published in Cross-Cultural Research, I noted that countries that are further from the equator, closer to major bodies of water, and are less mountainous tend to have greater levels of societal trust; prevalence of disease, it turns out, tends to decrease societal trust. In the area of diet and health, I looked at the relationships between food, lifestyle, and health by examining the evolution of the human diet. My book on this topic was published by Picador USA and HarperCollins Canada.

I can be reached at stephen dot le at ucla dot edu.

  • 1-Stephen Le Papua New Guinea