Human Evolutionary Biology 1260: Human Nature
This course will examine the evolutionary origins, biological foundations, and psychology underlying human behaviors including kinship, sexuality, incest, parental love, xenophobia, status, homicide, warfare, culture, cooking, language, and religion. Using a comparative approach, we will contextualize human behavior by examining both studies of non-human primates, especially chimpanzees, and the full breadth of human diversity, including both ethnographic and experimental data from hunter-gatherers, agriculturalists, and the most unusual of all: people from industrialized societies.
Human Evolutionary Biology 1290: Cultural Evolution: An Interdisciplinary Perspective
Unlike other species, humans are heavily reliant on learning from others to acquire many important aspects of their behavior, and this cultural transmission has created a second system of inheritance that has driven much of our species' genetic evolution. In addition to having shaped our species' anatomy and physiology, cultural evolution has important implications for understanding human nature, and for how to tackle basic problems in psychology, economics and anthropology. The first third of this course will develop the basic principles and lines of inquiry while the remainder will apply, hone and refine them by exploring economic development, the history of modern institutions, and global inequality. (Fall 2015 Syllabus ; Fall 2016 Syllabus)