Nicole Boivin is Director and Scientific Member at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History in Jena, Germany. She holds a BSc in Cellular, Molecular and Microbial Biology from the University of Calgary (1992), and an MPhil (1996) and PhD (2001) in Archaeology from the University of Cambridge. Following post-doctoral fellowships in Cambridge and Paris, she took up a Senior Research Fellowship at the University of Oxford in 2008, where she was also a Fellow of Jesus College. Nicole Boivin joined the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History as Director of the Department of Archaeology in July 2016.
Nicole Boivin’s archaeological research is multi-disciplinary, and cross-cuts the traditional divide between the natural sciences and humanities. She has undertaken pioneering research in Asia and Africa, exploring a broad range of issues through field, laboratory and theoretical applications – from human migrations out of Africa in the Late Pleistocene, to maritime trade and biological exchange in the Indian Ocean during the last two thousand years. She is interested in human history over the long-term, and the broad patterns of migration, interaction and environmental manipulation that have shaped the human story. At the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, her work explores the entanglement of biological, cultural and ecological processes from prehistory to the present. Her Department’s work explores diverse ways that data about the past can be brought to inform on such modern day challenges as climate change, anthropogenic transformation of species and environments, and food security.
Nicole Boivin is author of Material Cultures, Material Minds: The Role of Things in Human Thought, Society and Evolution (2008, Cambridge University Press), and co-editor of several books, most recently Human Dispersal and Species Movements: From Prehistory to the Present (2017, Cambridge University Press) and Globalisation and the ‘People without History’: Understanding Contact and Exchange in Prehistory (2018, Cambridge University Press).