Cathryn Townsend




I have been doing anthropological research on hunter-gatherer societies since 2009, when I travelled to the Democratic Republic of Congo to work with the Mbuti, who were made famous for their egalitarian social order by Colin Turnbull’s popular ethnography The Forest People. I went on to complete a PhD thesis at UCL under the supervision of Dr. Jerome Lewis on the emergence of inequality among Baka former hunter-gatherers of the Western Congo Basin. Since then, I have been working on the generosity and sharing practices of Ik former hunter-gatherers in northern Uganda, correcting the myth that the Ik have a culture of ‘selfishness’ that was created by Colin Turnbull’s ethnography The Mountain People.