Dr Kathleen Bryson

Postdoctoral Research Associate

Dr Kathleen Bryson is the Postdoctoral Research Associate for the Oxford Martin Programme on Women’s Equality and Inequality. She specialises in ambiguity tolerance, evolutionary theory and social identity theory applied to ingroup/outgroup distinctions, including androcentrism, heterosexism and speciesism.

Kathleen holds two separate BA degrees from the University of Washington (Anthropology and Swedish), an MA from the London College of Printing/University of the Arts London (Independent Film) and a PhD from University College London (Evolutionary Anthropology).

Within the Women’s Equality and Inequality programme, she researches bias and favouritism applied to women’s education and employment, particularly aspects of women’s unpaid — and often statistically untabulated — labour.

Her wider essentialism research explores if and how polarised thought patterns and corresponding classifications are protected or made malleable, complementing her earlier work on infrahumanisation, dehumanisation, essentialism and speciesism.

Kathleen’s book Why We Struggle with Ambiguity: The Quiddity Question, co-written with Volker Sommer (UCL, Evolutionary Anthropology) will be published by Ethics Press International in March 2023. This monograph focuses on classic modes of essentialised othering that were qualitatively and quantitatively analysed for her doctoral thesis, and provides evidence of similar temporal patterns of British ambiguity (in)tolerance. She also has directed several feature films and has had three novels published, the most recent being The Stagtress, a novel rooted in part in Frazer’s anthropological fever dream The Golden Bough (Fugue State Press, 2019).