Distinguished Lecturer Seminar Series

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Distinguished Lecture by Ruth Mace: 'Matriliny in China: Using the toolkit from behavioural ecology to study cultural evolution'

  • Date: Jul 11, 2018
  • Time: 15:30
  • Speaker: Ruth Mace
  • Location: MPI SHH Jena
  • Room: Villa V14
  • Host: Department of Linguistic and Cultural Evolution
Tinbergens ‘Four whys’ are still a useful framework in our study of human cultural behaviour. Ruth Mace will illustrate the approach with examples of modelling and empricial studies of proximate mechanisms, evolutionary dynamics, and phylogenetic comparative methods, to answer at least some of the four whys, to ask why some groups in China are matrlineal. We will examine, among other things, the role of relatedness, reciprocity, frequency dependence and witchcraft beliefs in establishing social relationships in these communities. Comparisons between households in one community, the Mosuo, and between groups of Sino-Tibetans all shed light on the behavioural ecology of these matrilineal systems.
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