Dialogues in Biological Anthropology

The Department of Anthropology announces its newest initiative, the Boston University Dialogues in Biological Anthropology, launched on April 2, 2010. These Dialogues are intended to bring attention to current issues within the field and make them accessible through new channels as an exemplar of scientific discourse for the BU community. Each conference will bring together well-known biological anthropologists who share a mastery of a common literature but hold divergent views on the topic at hand. The one-on-one dialogues are streamed in real time to BU audiences, and viewers can use e-mail or texting channels to submit questions and comments for the participants’ response. Following the dialogues, the scholars sit together in a public round-table discussion, where they review their different perspectives and new insights, discuss how their conflicting views might be reconciled or synthesized, and answer the public’s questions. The BU community will have exclusive initial access to the conference papers, the one-on-one debates, the capstone round table, and a concluding reception. Video of selected dialogues and round tables will be made available to the general Web audience.

It is hoped that these conferences will provide a model of civilized and productive scientific discourse, and will demonstrate how arguments alter opinions and move the field incrementally forward.

The Spring 2014 Dialogue, “ARE WE GETTING DUMBER?  Human Brain Size and Behavior Over the Past 20,000 Years” takes place on Monday, May 5, 2014 at 3 PM.

Information and video links are available for the first BU Dialogue, The Biology and Status of the Flores ‘Hobbit’: Species or Disease? (April 2-3, 2010), second Dialogue, on Evolution and Altruism (October 20-21, 2010), and third Dialogue,The Mysterious Origins of the Genus Homo, (April 7, 2011).

The Fall 2011 Dialogue, “Getting Hip: Babies, Brains, and Bipedality in Human Pelvic Evolution,” featured Dr. Steve Churchill (Associate Professor, Evolutionary Anthropology, Duke University) and Dr. Karen Rosenberg (Associate Professor and Chair of Anthropology, University of Delaware). It took place on October 21, 2011.


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