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The Secret of Our Success

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Humans are a puzzling species. As individuals, our ancestors could not survive alone in the wild. In groups, however, we have produced ingenious technologies, sophisticated languages, and complex institutions. What has enabled us to dominate the planet, while remaining virtually helpless as individuals? That is the question we will investigate in this study group. Joseph Henrich, Chair of the Harvard Human Evolutionary Biology Department, offers a simple, but profound answer: It lies not in our individual intelligence, but in our collective, cultural DNA. Each of us has access to intelligence accumulated over millennia, because we are a cultural species. Our culture, in turn, creates evolutionary pressures on natural selection in each generation. The best human traits are adapted, not only for the external environment, but for biological and genetic evolution. Henrich’s chronicle of how this all happens is a wide-ranging and enthralling scientific tale. He draws insights from lost explorers, clever chimpanzees, mobile hunter-gatherers, ancient bones, neuroscience, and the human genome (to name a few) in The Secret of our Success (Princeton University Press, 2016). If you are curious about how cultural and genetic co-evolution has shaped our species today — and will in the future — join us!

Class Details

14 Sessions
Weekly - Tue

Virtual - Any Location

MultipleInstructor :
1.Bill Barker2.Lisa D'Angelo3.Katharine Nair 



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Schedule Information

Date(s) Class Days Times Location Instructor(s)
9/7/2021 - 12/7/2021 Weekly - Tue 9:45 AM - 11:45 AM N/A, Virtual - Any Location  Map Katharine Nair  ; Lisa D'Angelo  ; Bill Barker 
/*NOV 14 2020*/