As part of our Science & Religion Lecture Series at Hampshire College, we will have anthropologist Barbara J. King as our speaker on September 22nd (tomorrow!). The title of her talk is Gorillas and God: The Evolutionary Roots of Religion. This promises to be a fascinating talk and you should check out her book, Evolving God: A Provocative View on the Origins of Religion. She also runs the Friday Animal Blog.
If you are in the area, please join us tomorrow for the lecture (yes, there will be cookies too). If you can't make it, we will be posting the video of the lecture in the next couple of weeks (see this link for past lecture videos).
Here is the full announcement with the abstract for the talk:
Hampshire College Lecture Series on Science & Religion Presents
Gorillas and God
Evolutionary Roots of Religion
Dr. Barbara J. King
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
5:30p.m., Franklin Patterson Hall, Main Lecture Hall
Anthropologists routinely seek evidence for the primate origins of human technology, language, and culture. In this illustrated talk, anthropologist Barbara J. King reviews the findings to date from the search for an aspect of our primate past even more elusive: the deepest roots of human religiosity. Using modern African apes such as gorillas and chimpanzees as a guide, she reflects upon the earliest evolutionary manifestations of compassion, imagination, thinking beyond the here-and-now, and ritual. She traces the first evidence for spirituality in human material culture by consideration of archaeological sites such as the Chauvet and Lascaux Caves in France, and Gobekli Tepe and Catalhoyuk in Turkey. King reflects as well on how we may, via a focus on the plasticity and contingency of our becoming-human trajectory (instead of on a heavily biologized account of our past), come to grasp more fully when it means to be human.
Dr. Barbara King is a biological anthropologist and Chancellor Professor of Anthropology at The College of William & Mary. Professor King’s research interests include primate behavior, especially ape communication, culture, and cognition; hominid evolution, especially evolution of language, culture, and religion; religion and science; dynamic systems theory;. She has studied ape and monkey behavior in Gabon, Kenya, and at the Language Research Center at Georgia State University. The recipient of a Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship, her books include The Information Continuum: Social Information Transfer in Monkeys, Apes, and Hominids, The Dynamic Dance: Nonvocal Communication in African Great Apes, Evolving God: A Provocative View on the Origins of Religion, and Being with Animals.
For more information on the Lecture Series, please visit http://scienceandreligion.hampshire.edu/