Raising Tomorrow: BaYaka Hunter-Gatherer Childhoods and Global Perspectives on Child Development




On Tues Feb 6, 6:30pm, Deniz Salali is speaking LIVE in the Daryll Forde Seminar Room, 2nd Floor, UCL Anthropology Dept. You can join us on ZOOM (ID 384 186 2174 Passcode Wawilak). G. Deniz Salali is an assistant professor in evolutionary anthropology at University College London. She researches human behaviour and health using evolutionary approaches. Since 2013, she has been conducting fieldwork in the Congo rainforest studying Mbendjele BaYaka hunter-gatherers.

Deniz writes: “In this presentation, I will delve into the characteristics of hunter-gatherer childhoods, drawing on my fieldwork with BaYaka hunter-gatherers in the Congo rainforest over the last 10 years. Addressing key questions, I will explore how BaYaka children acquire foraging skills and social norms, who takes care of them and how, and compare the physical activity levels of BaYaka children with those in the US and the UK. Additionally, I will discuss future directions and the implications of these findings for Western childrearing practices.

I will highlight the methods employed by BaYaka to foster physically active and autonomous children, emphasizing hands-on learning opportunities, early engagement in infant care, extensive social networks, and concentrated caregiving networks. Ultimately, I will argue that insights from hunter-gatherer childhoods can inform and inspire improvements in child development approaches in the West, proposing potential avenues for implementation.”