HRAF Advanced Research Centers

Last modified by hrafARC Editors on 2023/09/27 17:10

About hrafARC

The HRAF Advanced Research Centers (hrafARC) aim to promote basic and applied research in anthropology and to encourage and support comparative and cross-cultural research. More specifically, hrafARC aims to further the development of anthropology through comparative knowledge based on testable theory, sound research design and systematic methods for the collection and analysis of data. We seek to fulfill the historic mission of anthropology to describe and explain the range of variation in human biology, society, and culture across time and space. 

The main headquarters is at the Human Relations Area Files (HRAF) building in New Haven, CT (755 Prospect Street).  HRAF is a nonprofit membership consortium affiliated with Yale University.  Carol R. Ember directs hrafARC in New Haven and Michael Fischer directs hrafARC  in the UK--see

hrafARC Projects

Response to Shocks and Hazards Associated with Climate (2022-2025)

It is widely acknowledged that shocks—particularly those affecting food supplies, livelihoods and lives—pose threats to any social group. Given increased severity, frequency and even unpredictability of climate-related hazards around the world, it becomes vital to understand how groups establish practices that enhance resilience to shocks.  We will examine the cultural features associated with resilience in around 150 societies during the past two centuries. We will characterize the dimensions of shocks faced by society (i.e., quick vs. slow onset, frequency, predictability, severity) and assess societies for absorptive, adaptive and transformative resilience based on wellbeing.  Findings on the cultural consequences of shocks along with related resilience will be further explored through mathematical models plus through in-depth case studies of how societies have dealt with the different dimensions of shocks. Read More...

iKLEWS (2021-2023)

iKLEWS (Infrastructure for Knowledge Linkages from Ethnography of World Societies) is a HRAF project funded by the National Science Foundation. iKLEWS will create semantic infrastructure and associated computer services for a growing textual database (eHRAF World Cultures). The basic goal is to greatly expand the value of eHRAF World Cultures to users who seek to understand the range of possibilities for human understanding, knowledge, belief and behaviour with respect to real-world problems we face today, such as: climate change; violence; disasters; epidemics; hunger; and war. Understanding how and why cultures vary in the range of possible outcomes in similar circumstances is critical to improving policy, applied science, and basic scientific understandings of the human condition... Read more...

Presentation: Ethnographic Data Science: New Approaches to Comparative Research ... Mike Fischer, Shridhar Ravula, Francine Barone

Social Resilience to Nuclear Winter. (2018-2020)

This project employs archaeological and historical information to examine societal resilience to a catastrophic atmospheric event that block the sun and cooled the Northern Hemisphere by roughly 1 degree centigrade, creating widespread social disruption.  Peregrine uses this event as a proxy for the expected atmospheric impact of a limited nuclear war in Europe and seeks to identify strategies of resilience by examining those societies that survived, and failed to survive, the A.D. 536 event.  Read more...

Natural Hazards and Cultural Transformations. (2015-2019)

Researchers from cultural anthropology, archaeology, psychology, geography and climatology conducted three types of comparisons--a worldwide cross-cultural comparison using ethnographic data, an diachronic archaeological comparison of 32 traditions before and after major severe climate events, and a comparison of countries.  We are looking at a broad variety of possible cultural transformations in response to hazards.  These range from diet and subsistence diversity, property systems, mutual aid, political economy, general cultural “tightness" and beliefs about gods involvement with weather.  All of these domains have been newly coded for this project.   Read more ...

Presentation: Adapting to the New Era of Intangible Cultural Heritage by using Metadata ... Mike Fischer

(This video is hosted on YouTube)

hrafARC Data Repository


Peregrine, Peter N. 2017. “Political Participation and Long-Term Resilience in Pre-Columbian Societies.”  Disaster Prevention and Management 26(3).  1108/DPM-01-2017-0013


Ember, Carol R., Ian Skoggard, Erik J. Ringen, and Megan Farrer. 2018. "Our Better Nature:  Does Resource Stress Predict Beyond-Household Sharing?" Evolution & Human Behavior 39 (4): 380-391.

Peregrine, Peter N. 2018 "Social Resilience to Climate-Related Disasters in Ancient Societies: A Test of Two Hypotheses." Weather, Climate and Society 10(1): 145-161.

Peregrine, Peter N. 2019. "Reducing Post-Disaster Conflict: A Cross-Cultural Analysis Using Archaeological Data."  Environmental Hazards, 18:2, 93-110, DOI: 10.1080/17477891.2018.1476317


Ember, Carol R., Eric C. Jones, Ian Skoggard and Teferi Abate Adem. 2019. "Warfare, Atrocities, and Political Participation: Eastern Africa."
Journal of Aggression, Conflict and Peace Research 11(1):11-23,

Felzer, B.S., Ember, C.R., Chiang, R., and Jiang, M. 2019. The relationships of extreme precipitation and temperature events with ethnographic reports of droughts and floods in nonindustrial societies. Weather, Climate, and Society. Early release at: 


Ember, Carol R., Teferi Abate Adem, Tahlisa Brougham, and Emily Pitek. 2020. “Predictors of land privatization: Cross-cultural tests of defendability and resource stress theory” American Anthropologist. Forthcoming

Ember, Carol R., Erik Ringen, Jack Dunnington, and Emily Pitek, 2020. "Resource Stress and Subsistence Diversification Across Societies" Nature Sustainability: 1-9. DOI

Peregrine, Peter N.  2020.  "Climate and social change at the start of the Late Antique Little Ice Age"  The Holocene.  
DOI: 10.1177/0959683620941079

Peregrine, Peter N. "Social Resilience to climate change during the Late Antique Little Ice Age: A replication study" Weather, Climate, and Society.  DOI: 10.1175/WCAS-D-20-0023.1

Skoggard, Ian. Carol R. Ember, Emily Pitek, Joshua Conrad Jackson, Christina Carolus. 2020. "Resource Stress Predicts Changes in Religious Beliefs and Increases in Sharing Behavior."  Human Nature, pp. 1-23DOI


Ember, C., Skoggard, I., Felzer, B., Pitek, E., and Jiang, M. "Climate variability, drought, and the belief that high gods are associated with weather in nonindustrial societies." Weather, Climate, and Society vol. 13, no. 2. DOI



Peregrine, Peter N. 2021. "Social Resilience to Nuclear Winter: Lessons from the Late Antique Little Ice Age." Global Security 6(1): 57-67.



Pierro, Rachele, Carol R. Ember, Emily Pitek, and Ian Skoggard. "Local knowledge and practice in disaster relief: A worldwide cross-cultural comparison of coping mechanisms." International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction (2022): 102988.


Ember, Carol R., Abbe McCarter, and Erik Ringen. Uniformity of dress: a worldwide cross-cultural comparison (accepted; will appear in Human Nature)

hrafArc Development

Development Team Notes (Internal only)

Development Summary (Internal Only)

Created by hrafARC Editors on 2021/12/30 14:33
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