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  • The Helix Center for Interdisciplinary Investigation

    Male-Male Competition:
    Globalization, War, and Violence

    Saturday, October 27, 2012
    2:30 PM

    The Helix Center for Interdisciplinary Investigation of NYPSI is pleased to present "Male-Male Competition: Globalization, War, and Violence", a discussion exploring an evolutionary perspective on globalization, war and violence.

    Little attention is paid to the fact that Charles Darwin, in his book, The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex, devoted twelve chapters to male-male competition, describing it as "the law of battle". Darwin details intra-species male morphological and behavioral differences from molluscs through mammals, arriving finally and specifically at human mammals. Though this “law” is not sanctioned or obeyed by every human male, given human history, it appears an undeniable phenomenon. Buried in present-day research under the sobriquet of "sperm competition," Darwin's insight never surfaces.

    Maxine Sheets-Johnstone moderates the discussion and participants include Randall Collins, Brian Ferguson, John Horgan, and James Lieberman.

    Donations Accepted
    Free for NYPSI members/trainees

    New York Psychoanalytic Society & Institute
    247 East 82nd Street (between 2nd and 3rd Avenues)
    The Marianne & Nicholas Young Auditorium


    Randall Collins is Dorothy Swaine Thomas Professor of Sociology at University of Pennsylvania. He was President of the American Sociological Association, 2010-11. Among his books are Interaction Ritual Chains (2004); and Violence: a Micro-Sociological Theory (2008). His current work is in micro-sociology – close studies of human face-to-face interaction, using photos, videos, audio recordings, ethnographic observation and interviews about subjective experience. His research shows that certain patterns of emotional expression in faces, body postures and rhythms produce social solidarity; whereas other micro-patterns produce conflict and violence. Thus there are micro-situational triggers for both positive and destructive social behavior. On the whole, humans in face-to-face situations find social solidarity easier to produce than violence. Such evidence goes against theories that humans (or males in particular) are programmed for competition and conflict; violence is a subtle interactional skill that only some persons learn.

    R. Brian Ferguson is a Professor of Anthropology at Rutgers University-Newark. He received his Ph.D. from Columbia University in 1988, for a study of economic and social change in a Puerto Rican village. Since then his primary area of research has been war and political violence. A generalist, he has published on war in “tribal” societies and among ancient states, archaeological evidence regarding the origins of war, large-scale identity-linked violence in the contemporary world, human nature and war, and anthropological theory about war. He is currently working on a book that examines theories about human nature and aggression through reports about chimpanzees in the wild. Other interests are culture and biology, policing, and the development of organized crime in New York history.

    John Horgan is a science journalist and Director of the Center for Science Writings at Stevens Institute of Technology, Hoboken, New Jersey. A former senior writer at Scientific American (1986-1997), he has also written for The New York Times, Time, Newsweek, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, The New Republic, Slate, Discover, The London Times, The Times Literary Supplement, New Scientist, and other publications around the world. He writes regular columns forScientific American online and BBC Knowledge Magazine. His most recent book is The End of War (2012). The book has been called "the best book I've read in a very long time" (journalist David Swanson), "thoughtful, unflappable, closely argued" (novelist Nicholson Baker), "heartfelt and important" (evolutionary psychologist David Barash). Political scientist Michael Horowitz wrote: "Dialogue like that Horgan has opened here, in my opinion, is where the best pragmatic solutions \[to war\] are likely to emerge." Horgan’s awards include the 2005 Templeton-Cambridge Journalism Fellowship in Science and Religion; the American Psychiatric Association Certificate of Commendation for Outstanding Reporting on Psychiatric Issues (1997); the Science Journalism Award of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (1992 and 1994); and the National Association of Science Writers Science-in-Society Award (1993). His articles have been selected for The Best American Science and Nature Writing in 2005, 2006 and 2007.

    E. James Lieberman, M.D., M.P.H., Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, Emeritus, George Washington University School of Medicine, practiced psychotherapy in Washington D.C. for 40 years after serving as Chief, Center for Child and Family Mental Health, NIMH in the 1960s. He has written extensively on Otto Rank, most recently editing The Letters of Sigmund Freud and Otto Rank: Inside Psychoanalysis (2012). Other areas of interest are sex education and family planning, couples therapy, and nonviolent conflict resolution. Hobbies include cello playing, swimming, genealogy and Esperanto. First-hand experience in male-male competition includes chess and wrestling in high school and college (U.C. Berkeley), and going through medical school (U.C.S.F. ’58) with 82 classmates, 79 of whom were men.

    Maxine Sheets-Johnstone is a philosopher whose first life was as a dancer/choreographer, professor of dance/dance scholar. She has an ongoing Courtesy Professor appointment in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Oregon where she taught periodically in the 1990s. She has published numerous articles in humanities, science, and art journals. Her books include The Phenomenology of Dance; The Roots of Thinking;The Roots of Power: Animate Form and Gendered Bodies; The Roots of Morality; The Primacy of Movement; The Corporeal Turn: An Interdisciplinary Reader. She received an M.A. in Dance and a Ph.D. in Dance and Philosophy from the University of Wisconsin where she also studied for but did not complete a second doctorate in evolutionary biology.

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guidance • support • stress • anxiety • depression • conflict • hyperactivity • identity disorders • socialization • self-esteem •
guidance • support • stress • anxiety • depression • conflict • hyperactivity • identity disorders • socialization • self-esteem •