Professor Fiona Jordan - The evolution of cross-cultural diversity - Inaugural Lecture
Professor Fiona Jordan
Peel Lecture Theatre, School of Geographical Sciences, University Rd, Bristol BS8 1BF
An intergalactic observer of our planet would note that for a single species, humans display exceptional behavioural variety. We speak thousands of different languages, exploit a huge range of natural resources for food and materials, hold hundreds of moral and religious beliefs, and organise family, marriage and child-rearing in dozens of configurations. As an anthropologist, I aim to understand what drives this remarkable cultural diversity. I also want to understand the constraints on culture: why don’t human societies vary more? In this lecture I present cultural evolutionary research addressing these questions in three domains: family and marriage, language history, and natural resource use. These cross-cultural projects have been enabled by collaborations with scholars across anthropology, linguistics, biology, and psychology, and I argue for the benefits (despite the challenges!) of combining methods, data, and theory across disciplines.
The lecture will be followed by a drinks reception.
Free to attend, but booking will be required via the online form.
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