Evolution, Revolution And Human Origins

Evening talk

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Chris Knight

Evolution, Revolution And Human Origins

Tuesday, September 24, 2019 - 18:45

Chris Knight is best known for having developed the 'sex-strike' theory of human biological and cultural origins. Instead of attempting to explain human nature and social life piecemeal, one theory for the incest taboo, another for language, yet another for religion and so forth, Knight's approach is designed to join up the dots. Spectacularly confirmed by recent discoveries in population genetics and archaeology, this is one of the few successful attempts to put together the big picture, explaining religion, language, sexual morality and the whole range of distinctively human characteristics on the basis of one simple idea.

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

Next evening class

Camilla Power

Laughing At The Gods: Bushman Trickster Tales
Tuesday, January 21, 2020 - 18:45
Daryll Forde Seminar Room, Anthropology Building, 14 Taviton St, off Gordon Sq., London WC1H 0BW. Tube: Euston Square. map

Recently, it has been argued that no truly egalitarian societies exist since even those which appear to show equality in real life still have beliefs in dominant divine forces. In this talk, Camilla Power examines the role of the main supernatural entity of Khoisan Bushman peoples, the 'Trickster’. Denizen of First Creation, Trickster shows repeated characteristics of counter- and reverse dominance. He or she switches between an awesome or cosmic aspect – guarding game animals or bleeding initiates – and a weird, comical figure who is mean, cheating, greedy and lecherous, chopping off bits of the body which then behave extremely badly. Can the diverse versions of Trickster be reconciled and is there any underlying logic to them? A number of Khoisan stories will be narrated and discussed to reveal what they have in common. The Trickster expresses cycles of time and oscillation between periods of taboo and relaxation of taboo.