14 March 2012
12noon - 2pm
Venue: Room 802 (Anthropology Tea Room), Human Sciences Building
Department of Anthropology Seminar by Professor Agustin Fuentes.
Human behaviour- how it evolved, transformed and is manifested in culture - is central to anthropology. However, anthropology’s essential role in discourses on what it means to be and to become human, our human nature(s), is increasingly marginalised in public and academic spheres. We should not be content to sit on the side-lines.
Anthropology can reassert itself as the central locus for thinking about human behaviour, but only through bypassing historical and increasingly irrelevant internal disputes and unabashedly embracing its transdisciplinary and integrative nature. Combining emerging evolutionary perspectives with the dynamic repertoires of social, archaeological and biological anthropologies in generous dialogue with other affiliate disciplines (re)produces a dynamic anthropology, one that highlights the best of our histories but also creates and innovative and vibrant approach to understanding the human.
A perfect example of this position is found in the evolution of human aggression and cooperation, of war and peace. Integrating emerging evolutionary theory and paleoanthropological datasets with ethnographic, archaeological and physiological approaches reveals a complex and dynamic, but eminently anthropological, understanding of who we are and why we do what we do.