Against Nature? Homosexuality And Evolution

Evening talk

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Volker Sommer

Against Nature? Homosexuality And Evolution

Tuesday, March 5, 2019 - 18:45

Same-sex behaviour is often condemned on the grounds that it is "against nature". Indeed, selection favours those who leave more offspring. Nevertheless, homosexual behaviour is widespread - not only among humans, but other animals alike. Doesn't this constitute a paradox for Darwinian theory? And should we make connections between what goes on in nature and what is morally desirable? The talk will address these controversial topics.

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Our evening talks include discussion, are free and open to all.

Next evening class

Alice Rudge

Dangerous Laughter: Egalitarianism And The Batek Of Peninsular Malaysia
Tuesday, May 28, 2019 - 19:00
Daryll Forde Seminar Room, Anthropology Building, 14 Taviton Street, London WC1H 0BW. Tube: Euston Square. map

In the Batek’s forest, laughter and mockery are often subject to taboo, and inappropriate laughter or mockery can cause storms, madness, ill-health, or even death. However, although these taboos are viewed and described with utmost seriousness, people also find great pleasure in laughing together and making jokes. In fact, this pleasure is often intensified when the laughter or joke is forbidden and risks catastrophe. This sets up a dynamic whereby it is largely up to individuals whether they choose to follow the taboos, or to ignore them and succumb to the pleasure of sharing in subversive laughter. Speaking to debates on power and ethics, this paper therefore both outlines the Batek’s laughter taboos, and asks how managing the conflicting demands of laughter shapes people’s ethical values, particularly in relation to power, authority, and egalitarianism.