The Evolutionary Anthropology Society is a section of the American Anthropological Association. We bring together those interested in applying modern evolutionary theory to the analysis of human biology, behavior, and culture. Our main goals are to:
- promote the application of modern evolutionary theory to the analysis of human behavior and culture (including its paleontological, archaeological, and linguistic manifestations);
- foster scholarly exchange between evolution-minded researchers in all subfields of anthropology as well as in other disciplines;
- support the dissemination of evolutionary anthropology in teaching and research;
- provide a forum for those who are concerned with the communication of evolutionarily-informed anthropological research among the general public;
- provide a greater opportunity for evolutionarily-oriented anthropology graduate students to present papers at the American Anthropological Association (AAA) annual meetings, and to encourage them to take full advantage of the benefits of belonging to the AAA.
We welcome students, faculty, and anyone with similar interests to join the EAS and help us build a thriving community of researchers. Our membership includes human behavioral ecologists, primatologists, archaeologist, cultural anthropologists, psychologists, biologists, and paleoanthropologists, to name a few. At the annual meetings of the American Anthropological Association (AAA), we provide venues for students, young investigators, and senior researchers to get to know each other and to present current research on a variety of topics within evolutionary anthropology.
Our official bylaws and policies are described here.
Our emphasis is on scientific analyses including a balance of theory and data. Evolutionary anthropology is a broad and exciting field, and we encourage research and presentations on a wide range of topics. Society presentations at AAA meetings involve research on foraging and food sharing in comparative and diachronic perspective, gender roles, evolutionary applied anthropology, the evolution of cooperation and inequality, and more.
There are solid reasons, both scholarly and pragmatic, for creating EAS as a section of the AAA. First, the explanatory power and theoretical unity provided by contemporary Darwinian theory is leading to rapid growth of knowledge about the evolutionary processes that shape human behavior and related social phenomena (including cultural evolution, long-term ecological change, the origin and evolution of language, and the like). While much of this work is based on understandings derived from the analysis of genetic evolution, of equal importance is the recent development of a sophisticated theory of cultural evolution that establishes the unique properties of this system of adaptation. Human phenotypic adaptability, particularly behavioral forms such as individual and social learning and symbol-based cognition, also provide an important basis for much of the research that falls properly within the purview of the EAS.
Second, those interested in evolutionary anthropology range across traditional anthropological subdisciplines, as well as encompassing scholars from other disciplines with a strong desire to both contribute to and learn from anthropology. EAS is intended to provide a venue for presentation of research by scholars who would otherwise be unlikely to attend AAA meetings on a regular basis. Our society is explicitly aimed at linking various subfields of anthropology, as well as scholars in other relevant disciplines such as biology, economics, and psychology. EAS encourages a theoretically unified evolutionary perspective that cuts across subdisciplinary and disciplinary boundaries.
We encourage our members to belong to other relevant sections of the AAA, such as the Archaeology Division, the Biological Anthropology Section, and the Society for Anthropological Sciences. We see the relationship between EAS and these units as complementary rather than competitive, and many members of EAS are active members of other AAA units.
EAS aims to be a unifying force in the AAA, not a divisive one. As anthropologists, we are sensitive to the long history of abuse of evolutionary notions and ill-founded biological determinism in anthropology. Indeed, we believe the EAS can be a major contributor to critiques of naive and distorted evolutionary analyses in anthropology and human affairs, as well as ill-informed attacks on evolutionary social science and evolutionary biology.
- Peter Richerson, Past-President (2018-20)
- Mary Shenk, President (2018-20)
- Brooke Scelza, President-Elect (2018-20)
- Dawn Neill, Secretary/Treasurer (2016-20)
- Rebecca Sear, Member-at-Large (2016-20)
- Daniel Hruschka, Member-at-Large (2016-20)
- Chris von Rueden, Member-at-Large (2018-22)
- Siobhán Mattison, Member-at-Large (2018-22)
- Sarah Alami, Student Rep (2018-20)
- Kathrine Starkweather, Contributing Co-Editor (2016-20)*
- Melanie Martin, Contributing Co-Editor (2016-20)*
- Bret Beheim, Webmaster (2016-20)*
*: non-voting members
Past Board Members:
Frank Marlowe • Brooke Scelza • Monique Borgerhoff Mulder • Donna Leonetti • John Ziker • Pat Draper • Michael Alvard • Eric A. Smith • Tim Earle • Lee Cronk • Patricia C Draper • Elizabeth Cashdan • David Nolin • James Boster • Bill Irons • Jane Lancaster • Mary Shenk • Brian Wood • John Patton • Carol Ember • Shane Macfarlan • Anne Pisor