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Specialized Seminar: “Human Niche, Human Behavior, Human Nature”

Specialized Seminar: “Human Niche, Human Behavior, Human Nature”
Friday, February 24, 2017 - 12:00pm
Anthropology Seminar Room 248
Free and open to all
Dr. Agustín Fuentes Professor & Chairman of Anthropology, University of Notre Dame

There is no single “best” discourse on, or mode of approach to, human nature. However, in the context of what we know about the evolutionary history, anthropology and biology of Homo sapiens, it is clear that an evolutionary approach should be among the principal modes of inquiry. At present we are faced with a few different narratives as to exactly what such an evolutionary approach entails. However, one point is clear: we need a robust and dynamic theoretical toolkit in order to develop a richer, more nuanced understanding of the cognitively sophisticated genus Homo and the diverse sorts of niches that human constructed and occupied throughout the Pleistocene, Holocene, and into the Anthropocene. This seminar presentation will review current evolutionary approaches to “human nature” and argue that we benefit from re-framing our investigations via the concept of the human niche and in the context of the Extended Evolutionary Synthesis (EES). This is not a replacement of earlier evolutionary approaches, but rather an expansion and enhancement, a broadening of our analytical toolkit and the landscape of inquiry. The argument and assertions will be supported with brief examples from human evolutionary histories.

Professor Fuentes (B.A., M.A., Ph.D., UC Berkeley, 1989,91,94) is a specialist in the study of macaques (from Indonesia to Gibraltar). He is the author of four books (most recently Race, Monogamy & Other Lies They Have Told You—W. W. Howells Award for 2015), editor/co-editor of 16 collective volumes and special journal issues (including “Re-integrating Anthropology”, Current Anthropology 57, with Polly Wiessner), editor of Wiley’s International Encyclopedia of Primatology, author/co-author of 84 peer-reviewed journal articles and 54 book chapters, plus many other articles, reviews, blogs, etc. He has been the recipient of 35 grants, including a recent John Templeton Foundation grant for nearly $2 million. He has organized numerous meeting sessions & symposia, including a 2014 Wenner-Gren Conference in Sintra, Portugal. He is a frequent keynote & public speaker on apes, race, and human nature.


Event is  free, open to the public & accessible. Park legally to avoid a fine.

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