Radical Anthropology Autumn talks 2023:

Language, art, music and culture emerged in Africa over 100,000 years ago, culminating in a symbolic explosion or ‘human revolution’ whose echoes can still be heard in myths and cultural traditions from around the world. These talks are a general introduction to social and biological anthropology, ranging over fields as diverse as hunter-gatherer studies, mythology, primatology, archaeology and archaeoastronomy. Radical Anthropology brings indigenous rights activists, environmentalists, feminists and others striving for a better world together with people of all ages who just want to learn about anthropology.

  • all talks are FREE, LIVE and on ZOOM, Tuesdays 6:30pm London time,
  • @UCLAnthropology, Daryll Forde Seminar Room, 14 Taviton St, WC1H 0BW
  • register here for latest info and ZOOM links
  • Sept 19 Chris Knight (UCL) Can Indigenous and Western perspectives see eye-to-eye? The value of two-eyed seeing.
  • Sept 26 Chris Knight and Camilla Power (UCL)The sex-strike theory of human origins
  • Oct 3 Darcia Narvaez (Notre Dame) Mature human nature: The evolved nest
  • Oct 10 Kirsty Graham (St Andrews) The expressive chimpanzees of Fongoli
  • Oct 17 Toyin Agbetu (UCL) A Return to Action: A discussion revisiting the values of Action Anthropology
  • Oct 24 Camilla Power (UCL) On the ‘Human Revolution’
  • Oct 31 Chris Knight (UCL) The science of mythology: ‘The Sleeping Beauty’ and other tales
  • Nov 7 Natalia Buitron (Cambridge) and Hans Steinmuller (LSE) Egalitarianism is hierarchy, autonomy is mutuality
  • Nov 14 Freya Hope (Oxford) ‘This land is our land’: Exploring New Travellers’ alternative worldmaking and activism
  • Nov 21Chris Stringer (NHM)Human evolution: some recent discoveries and their implications
  • Nov 28 Chris Knight (UCL) Oppenheimer and Chomsky: How war research shaped modern science
  • Dec 5 Jerome Lewis and Chris Knight (UCL) When Eve laughed: The origins of language
  • Dec 12 Chris Knight (UCL) A Xmas Fairytale: the Shoes that were danced to pieces

A Winter Solstice Fairytale: the shoes that were danced to pieces

Our last class this year is a trip to the Underworld! Join us LIVE @UCLAnthropology, Tues Dec 12, 6:30pm (London time) with Chris Knight to read and discuss the Grimms’ story of the ‘Shoes that were Danced to Pieces’ Chris writes: “This delightful fairy tale from the Brothers Grimm has become a RAG tradition, told […]

When Eve Laughed: The Origins of Language

On Tuesday Dec 5, 18:30 GMT (London time) Jerome Lewis and Chris Knight will talk about their forthcoming book on language origins: ‘When Eve Laughed’. Why is it that out of 220 primate species, we are the only one which talks? Collective laughter, too, is unique to our species. Although quite different from language, collective […]

Oppenheimer and Chomsky – How war research shaped modern science

On Tuesday Nov 28 (18:30 GMT London time) we have a talk from Chris Knight (author of Decoding Chomsky, Yale UP) on the anthropology and history of science in the post war era, through the lens of two major scientists who contributed to military research: Robert Oppenheimer and Noam Chomsky: Chris writes: ‘This talk will […]

Human evolution: some recent discoveries and their implications

On Tuesday Nov 21, we have a talk from Prof Chris Stringer (Natural History Museum) who is widely known as one of the foremost experts of hominin fossils in the world, and famous as author of the Recent African Origin model. He will be updating us on recent developments in human evolution, looking at fossils […]

‘This land is our land’: Exploring New Travellers’ alternative worldmaking and activism

On Nov 14, 18:30 GMT London time, we welcome Freya Hope, a Ph.D candidate anthropology at the University of Oxford, whose work explores human possibilities through the ‘alternative worldmaking’ of New Travellers. She engages with topics such as the anthropologies of anarchy, freedom, endurance and nomadism. New Travellers formed their group as an alternative to […]

Egalitarianism is Hierarchy, Autonomy is Mutuality

Natalia Buitron (Cambridge) and Hans Steinmuller (LSE) will be talking both LIVE @UCLAnthropology Dept and on ZOOM on Tues Nov 7 about their research in political anthropology. They write: Egalitarianism and hierarchy usually hang together, as both are based on commensuration and scale. As such, they contrast with autonomy and mutuality, which require a level […]

The science of mythology: ‘The Sleeping Beauty’ and other tales

Chris Knight will be speaking on Tues Oct 31, 18:30 pm London time LIVE @UCLAnthropology and on ZOOM. Hallowe’en costumes appreciated! The French anthropologist Claude Levi-Strauss was the first to discover that the world’s magical myths and fairy tales all express the same underlying logic. Across all six continents, they are ultimately a single anonymous […]

On the ‘Human Revolution’

Camilla Power and Ian Watts will be talking on Tues Oct 24, 18:30 London time LIVE @UCLAnthropology and on ZOOM They will speak about the history and meaning of the “Human Revolution’, an idea fundamentally developed in association with the Recent African Origins model in the late 1980s, and the entry of modern humans into […]

A Return to Action: A discussion revisiting the values of Action Anthropology

Toyin Agbetu, Lecturer in Political and Social Anthropology at UCL, will be speaking LIVE @UCLAnthropology and on ZOOM on Tues Oct 17, 6:30pm. He writes, Although anthropology is centred around the study of humanity,  in its applied and military guises, it is not necessarily egalitarian, equitable or activist. Historically, these forms of the discipline have […]

The expressive chimpanzees of Fongoli

On Tues Oct 10, 6:30pm, Kirsty Graham (St Andrews) will be talking about her recent work on primate gesture with chimpanzees at Fongoli and bonobos at Wamba:“As someone who has spent 10 years studying primate gesture, I was (pleasantly) shocked by my research trip to Fongoli, Senegal. Here was a small cohesive group of Western […]


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