This blog is about how things and people have identities and histories that get defined–and redefined–by multiple, inextricably intertwined biological and cultural dimensions. And this perspective is certainly reflected in why I am continuing to develop this blog project.
I am a paleoanthropologist obsessively interested in better understanding in our joint biological and cultural nature. I have long worked as a professor, having been primarily interested in undergraduate teaching and students’ liberal arts learning experiences. I am a field archaeologist who thrives on the intricate puzzle-solving challenge of figuring out patterns and associations among widely disparate, interdisciplinary observations and analyses. I am an anthropologist committed to rejuvenating substantial intellectual connections between now-fragmented cultural/humanistic and evolutionary/scientific approaches to understanding our diversity AND our shared biocultural inheritance. And I am an educator who seeks to find new ways to engage in and promote the values of critical thinking, scientific inquiry, thoughtful reflection, mutual respect, constructive communication, and lifelong learning. This is just my professional identity.
From 2012 to 2018, I served as associate professor of Anthropology at Oxford College of Emory University. Oxford College is a small residential “liberal-arts-intensive” undergraduate college at Emory. I taught courses on human evolution, human ecology, race and identity, disability and society, and archaeology. My academic research deals directly with biocultural evolution. I am especially fortunate to be co-leading–with Liv Nilsson Stutz, lecturer of Anthropology at Emory University (she’s also my wife)–a wonderful interdisciplinary research team investigating the Early Upper Paleolithic deposits at Mughr el-Hamamah (Caves of the Doves) in northwestern Jordan.
When Liv was offered a position as Lecturer in archaeology and cultural heritage at the Linneus University in southeastern Sweden, I was thrilled to have the opportunity to support her. I was just as excited to move back to Sweden, where I worked as a post-doc 2002-2005. Thus, I resigned my position at Oxford College, effective 1 September, 2018. With Liv, our children and our cats, I arrived in Sweden this summer. I am now based in the city of Växjö, embarking on this next chapter of inquiry, teaching, and learning about biocultural evolution.
Key research themes that I discuss on this site include:
- niche-adaptation co-evolution in the human evolutionary lineage (the hominins)
- evolution of the human life history strategy (we grow up slowly and live a really long time)
- human sociality (we’re even more social–and socially interdependent–than our very close ape relatives)
- intergenerational transfer strategies (our sociality is strongly tied to how material, information, and social resources are transferred from older to younger generations)
- long-term demographic and health patterns (sociality and intergeneration resource transfers influence and are influenced by longer-term trends in demography and health)
- language, symbolic thought, embodied social practice, and technology (what more can I say?)
- the narrative and metaphorical nature of memory and its role in shaping ideologies of power and masking conflicts of interest in our complex social lives (social conflicts of interest are a highly derived hominin phenotype)
Many publications will be forthcoming in the next year or two, and I will blog about them along the way. Available publications may be found on my academia.edu site.
Updated Växjö, Sweden, 3 October 2018