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Creativity. It is the secret of what makes humans special, hiding in plain sight. Agustín Fuentes argues that your child's finger painting comes essentially from the same place as creativity in hunting and gathering millions of years ago, and throughout history in making war and peace, in intimate relationships, in shaping the planet, in our communities, and in all of art, religion, and even science. It requires imagination and collaboration. Every poet has her muse; every engineer, an architect; every politician, a constituency. The manner of the collaborations varies widely, but successful collaboration is inseparable from imagination, and it brought us everything from knives and hot meals to iPhones and interstellar spacecraft.
Weaving fascinating stories of our ancient ancestors' creativity, Fuentes finds the patterns that match modern behavior in humans and animals. This key quality has propelled the evolutionary development of our bodies, minds, and cultures, both for good and for bad. It's not the drive to reproduce; nor competition for mates, or resources, or power; nor our propensity for caring for one another that have separated us out from all other creatures.
As Fuentes concludes, to make something lasting and useful today you need to understand the nature of your collaboration with others, what imagination can and can't accomplish, and, finally, just how completely our creativity is responsible for the world we live in. Agustín Fuentes's resounding multimillion-year perspective will inspire readers—and spark all kinds of creativity.
Why are so many humans religious? Why do we daydream, imagine, and hope? Philosophers, theologians, social scientists, and historians have offered explanations for centuries, but their accounts often ignore or even avoid human evolution. Evolutionary scientists answer with proposals for why ritual, religion, and faith make sense as adaptations to past challenges or as by-products of our hyper-complex cognitive capacities.
But what if the focus on religion is too narrow? Renowned anthropologist Agustín Fuentes argues that the capacity to be religious is actually a small part of a larger and deeper human capacity to believe. Why believe in religion, economies, love? A fascinating intervention into some of the most common misconceptions about human nature, this book employs evolutionary, neurobiological, and anthropological evidence to argue that belief—the ability to commit passionately and wholeheartedly to an idea—is central to the human way of being in the world.
Fieldwork is a central method of research throughout anthropology, a much-valued, much-vaunted mode of generating information. But its nature and process have been seriously understudied in biological anthropology and primatology. This book is the first ever comparative investigation, across primatology, biological anthropology, and social anthropology, to look critically at this key research practice. It is also an innovative way to further the comparative project within a broadly conceived anthropology, because it does not focus on common theory but on a common method. The questions asked by contributors are: what in the pursuit of fieldwork is common to all three disciplines, what is unique to each, how much is contingent, how much necessary? Can we generate well-grounded cross-disciplinary generalizations about this mutual research method, and are there are any telling differences? Co-edited by a social anthropologist and a primatologist, the book includes a list of distinguished and well-established contributors from primatology and biological anthropology.
Research on health involves evaluating the disparities that are systematically associated with the experience of risk, including genetic and physiological variation, environmental exposure to poor nutrition and disease, and social marginalization. This volume provides a unique perspective - a comparative approach to the analysis of health disparities and human adaptability - and specifically focuses on the pathways that lead to unequal health outcomes. From an explicitly anthropological perspective situated in the practice and theory of biosocial studies, this book combines theoretical rigor with more applied and practice-oriented approaches and critically examines infectious and chronic diseases, reproduction, and nutrition.