Barton Thompson, Ph.D. – Albright College

Barton Thompson, Ph.D.

Barton Thompson, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Sociology
Selwyn Hall 201

University of California-Santa Barbara


Barton Thompson graduated from The Colorado College with a degree in political science and then went on to earn an MS degree in Geotechnical Engineering and a second MS degree in Environmental Engineering from Stanford University. He then earned an MA and PhD in Biological Anthropology from the University of California, Santa Barbara. Along the way, Dr. Thompson has taught history and chemistry in high schools, worked as an environmental engineer for the Environmental Protection Agency, and finally, acted as a professor of Interdisciplinary Studies at Arizona State University before coming to Albright College in 2001.

Dr. Thompson directs the Anthropological Track of the Sociology and Anthropology Department. His area of expertise extends through both biological and cultural anthropology and enables him to teach a wide variety of courses that relate to multiple aspects of humanity. In his research, he has particularly focused on hunter-gatherers from around the world and what they can tell us about humans and the way we operate in the present modern-industrial environment. He has conducted research in the subarctic in northern Quebec, mid-Atlantic of the US, and the Amazon region of Peru. His research has utilized the evolutionary model to gain insights into human universals, our sense of place, speciesism, ethics, sex, and aggression cross-culturally. Dr. Thompson also directs the Environmental Studies program in which he teaches a variety of courses that examine how humans utilize their surrounding environments. His research in this field has focused on the underappreciated force of our evolved ecological psychology, which continues to foster unsustainable decisions, policies, and lifestyles.

Areas of Expertise

Hunters and gatherers
Humans and their environment
Human evolution
Evolutionary psychology

Areas of Research

Selected Professional Activity and Publications

Thompson, B. 2016. ‘Sense of Place Among Hunter-Gatherers’ Cross-Cultural Research, Volume 50, number 4

Thompson, B. 2016. “How ‘Global’ Can We Be? Insights from the Environmental Field” in Langran, I. & Birk, T. (Eds.)Chapter 10 In Globalization, Global Citizenship, Interdisciplinary approaches pp. 143-155  London: Routledge

Thompson, Barton, and David Osgood. 2011. “Community Management, Self-interest and Environmental Preservation in the Amazon.” Interdisciplinary Environmental Review 12(2): 128-145.

Courses Taught

FYS100 Evolution, What’s All the Fuss About?
ANT101 Introduction to Cultural Anthropology
ANT285 The Human Animal
ANT/SYN310 Crime, Culture, and Conflict Resolution
ANT320 Sex, Gender and Culture
ANT342 Human Evolution
ANT/SYN/ESS365 Ecological Psychology
ANT400 Senior Seminar in Anthropology (This might have a different number – not sure)
ESS101 Introduction to Environmental Issues
ESS400 Senior Seminar in ESS