Agustiín Fuentes
University of Notre Dame

Human Community as Human Nature- an inquiry into the nature and role of community in human evolution

Project Description:

Humans exhibit extreme cooperation and the strongest sense of community. Diverse disciplines recognize our need to be in community with other humans to truly develop as a human being. Accumulating research suggests that the social brain, our extended mind, and extreme social complexity are central in human evolution, and niche construction and emerging concepts in evolutionary theory provide an important toolkit for modeling this process. I propose to integrate conceptualizations of anthropologists, biologists and psychologists with the philosophical and theological views of community as central to humanity. My goal is to discover if “community” as a concept can become an effective tool for analyses of human nature(s). Integrating lines of evidence from ethnography, human biology, paleoanthropology and primatology and recent advances in evolutionary theory I hope to develop a set of hypotheses and an explanatory model that places the community as central in our evolutionary histories and current lives.
Agustín Fuentes completed a B.A. in Zoology and Anthropology, and an M.A.& Ph.D. in Anthropology at the University of California, Berkeley, and is a Professor of Anthropology at the University of Notre Dame. His current research includes cooperation and community in human evolution, ethnoprimatology and multispecies anthropology, evolutionary theory, and interdisciplinary approaches to human nature(s).  Fuentes’ recent books include “Evolution of Human Behavior” (Oxford), “Biological Anthropology: concepts and connections” (McGraw-Hill), and “Race, Monogamy, and other lies they told you: busting myths about human nature” (U of California).