Northwestern Events Calendar


Anthropology Colloquium: Robin Nelson, Arizona State University

When: Monday, January 30, 2023
3:00 PM - 5:00 PM CT

Where: 1810 Hinman Avenue, 104, 1810 Hinman Avenue , Evanston, IL 60208 map it

Audience: Faculty/Staff - Student - Public - Post Docs/Docs - Graduate Students

Contact: Nancy Hickey   (847) 467-1507

Group: Anthropology Colloquia and Events

Co-Sponsor: Anthropology Department

Category: Lectures & Meetings


Common Problems: (re)Considering biocultural theory and methods in the study created relations and everyday human crises

Kinship has been a central area of anthropological inquiry since the inception of the discipline.  Since 2004, my own research has examined core concepts in anthropological studies of the family, including parental investment and extended kin care in the contemporary contexts of urban and migrating populations living in industrialized environments. In this talk, I will consider  “common” evolutionary anthropological conceptualizations and assessments of investment, and how they structure our theory building and data collection, while sometimes obscuring the complexity of lived relations. With evidence from my research on created relations, kin investment, identity, and health at three sites, I suggest that a grounded biocultural theory may enable us to navigate some of the more complicated human behavioral patterns (such as intra-gender conflict and trans-generational antipathy) that have been relegated to anecdotes and cast aside in favor of more easily operationalizable data. Similarly, a better theoretical and methodological integration of the fluidity of relations while recognizing the everyday crises navigated by these relationships enables anthropologists to re-visit what we understand to be the core behaviors that have shaped human evolution over millennia. 

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