Black and white image of human evolution

Anthropology Day Lecture: Why Anthropology Matters Now

Thursday, February 27, 2020
4:30 pm
152 Shideler Hall

In this second decade of the 21st century, we are deep into the Anthropocene. It is a time where tsunamis of global and local ecological crisis swamp humans and others. When extreme inequality spreads, and many societal centers of power are racist, sexist and corrupt, often invoking “human nature” to justify their malicious endeavors. This reality has substantive impacts on bodies, lives and societies. Our bodies, the material aspects of our brains, of our endocrine systems, of our circulatory systems, and the function of our genomes are shaped by our evolutionary histories, and our experience and development…and that experience and development is shaped and structured through social constructions, local landscapes, beliefs, and perceptions… human culture. Anthropology has the toolkit, the capacity, and the obligation to help push against the negative aspects of the Anthropocene. This is when anthropology matters. But only if we act. This lecture will outline what Anthropology is, can be and should be, and offers a few specific musings on how anthropology can matter for humans and others in 2020 and beyond.

Agustin Fuentes
Agustin Fuentes
The Rev. Edmund P. Joyce, C.S.C., Endowed Chair in Anthropology, University of Notre Dame