Biological Anthropology Section
Society for Anthropological Sciences
Cosponsored - Oral Presentation Session
Nam Kim (University of Wisconsin-Madison)
Tracking the process of how hominin become human often involves delineating the key moments, behaviors, events, and actors in human evolution. This is especially true for the origin of collective interpersonal violence, as the timing and reason for the beginnings of warfare are not just academic issues, but are linked to modern sociopolitical issues about human nature. For a variety of reasons, the majority of research on warfare has been malecentric, with much attention placed on male-driven aggression and its impact on hominin evolution. However, there may be inherent biases in our past approaches to the topic of warfare, especially in terms of assumptions of sex and gender. I track the theories and hypotheses that see male violence and aggression as a prime mover in human evolution, both within and outside of anthropology, to uncover some of the assumptions these hypotheses rely on. This shows how synthetic anthropological treatments are needed, especially in efforts to inform debates among nonacademic audiences, as these approaches are ideally suited to study the origins of warfare. As narratives about who we were are inexorably tied to ideas about who we are, our studies would be enriched by a comprehensive examination of a wider range of theoretical and empirical research.