Elizabeth Whitaker PHOTO COURTESY OF COLLEGE OF THE ATLANTIC

Forum to explore human nature



BAR HARBOR — Anthropologist and author Elizabeth Whitaker will explore the presumed natural foundation for social inequalities and shed light on both the constraints and possibilities inherent in the human condition at College of the Atlantic’s free Human Ecology Forum in McCormick Lecture Hall on Tuesday, Jan. 16, at 4:10 p.m.

Whitaker’s book, “The Trouble with Human Nature: Health, Conflict, and Difference in Biocultural Perspective” (Routledge, 2017), brings together biological and cross-cultural evidence to critically examine common preconceptions and challenge popular assumptions about human nature. It sets out to counter genetic and evolutionary myths about human variation and behavior, drawing on both biological and cultural anthropology, as well as other disciplines, including psychology, economics and sociology.

The chapters address the interrelated topics of health and disease, gender and other differences, and violence and conflict. The analysis calls into question the presumed natural foundation for social inequalities and sheds light on both the constraints and possibilities inherent in the human condition.

This book provides students of human diversity and evolution with an excellent resource to better approach questions relating to human nature. It also will be of interest to those taking courses in social, cultural and biological anthropology, as well as public health, medical anthropology, sociology, gender studies, psychology and kinship studies.

Whitaker is an anthropologist specializing in human health, social history and the history of scientific ideas. She teaches at the Università degli Studi di Bologna, Italy, and has taught anthropology in the United States for many years, including several terms at College of the Atlantic.

The Human Ecology Forum is a free, weekly speaker series based on the work of the academic community, which also draws on artists, poets, and political and religious leaders from around the world. Members of the public are invited to attend.

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