Anthropology lectures to focus on race and war

Agustin FuentesAgustin Fuentes, a physical anthropologist from the University of Notre Dame, will present two lectures, one on race and another on war, peace and human nature, Wednesday and Thursday, April 29 and 30, at Linfield College.

“What Race is, and What it is Not: How Do We Know and Why Does it Matter?” will be Wednesday, April 29, at 7 p.m. in Ice Auditorium in Melrose Hall. This talk will cover the biology, history and reality of race, racism, and inequality in the U.S. and provide us with a much needed toolkit to move forward. Race, and racism, are among the most problematic and important issues facing us today. But what do we really know about them? Is race biology?  Are “races” real?  Are people naturally racist? Why is there so much confusion, conflict and disagreement surrounding this topic?

“War, Peace and Human Nature(s): What Do We Know and How Do We Know It?” will be Thursday, April 30, at 4:30 p.m. in Jonasson Hall, lower level of Melrose Hall. This talk will lay out what we know about human evolutionary processes and histories and how they inform us about the human capacity for war and our propensity for peace. Are humans naturally aggressive and violent or are we peace-seeking and cooperative? Or is it all more complicated than that? War, cruelty and suffering as well as peace, harmony and collaboration are all part of the human experience. But where do they come from and what can our past tell us about the future of our species?

Fuentes, currently a professor of anthropology at Notre Dame, examines human evolution from several perspectives, and his research sheds light on some of the most common misconceptions about human nature, specifically in the areas of race, sex and aggression. He is the author of “Evolution of Human Behavior,” which examines how and why humans evolved behaviorally, and “Health, Risk and Adversity,” which provides a comparative approach to the analysis of health disparities and human adaptability and focuses on the pathways that lead to unequal health outcomes.

He has a bachelor’s in zoology and anthropology, and master’s and Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of California, Berkeley. He is also the author of “Race, Monogamy, and Other Lies They Told You: Busting Myths about Human Nature.” His articles have been published in Cultural Anthropology and the Yearbook of Physical Anthropology.

The lectures are free and open to the public. They are sponsored by the Linfield College Department of Sociology/Anthropology and PLACE (Program for Liberal Arts and Community Engagement), exploring this year’s theme “How Do We Know? Paths to Wisdom.”

For more information, contact Hillary Crane, 503-883-2286,