Why Men? A Human History of Violence and Inequality w/ Nancy Lindisfarne & Jonathan Neale

30 Apr 2024 – 15:00 - 17:00 BST
The Royal Anthropological Institute (in person and online)
50 Fitzroy Street

Join Nancy Lindisfarne & Jonathan Neale for the launch of their co-authored book, Why Men? .

About the book

How did humans, a species that evolved to be cooperative and egalitarian, develop societies of enforced inequality? Why did our ancestors create patriarchal power and warfare? Did it have to be this way?

Elites have always called hierarchy and violence unavoidable facts of human nature. Evolution, they claim, has caused men to fight, and people—starting with men and women—to have separate, unequal roles. But that is bad science.

Why Men? tells a smarter story of humanity, from early behaviours to contemporary cultures. From bonobo sex and prehistoric childcare to human sacrifice, Joan of Arc, Darwinism and Abu Ghraib, this fascinating, fun and important book reveals that humans adapted to live equally, yet the earliest class societies suppressed this with invented ideas of difference. Ever since, these distortions have caused female, queer and minority suffering. But our deeply human instincts towards equality have endured.

This book is not about what men and women are or do. It’s about the privileges humans claim, how they rationalise them, and how we unpick those ideas about our roots. It will change how you see injustice, violence and even yourself.

About the authors

Nancy Lindisfarne is an anthropologist who previously studied and taught at SOAS University of London. She is presently working with Richard Tapper on a visual ethnography of the Piruzai as a companion volume to their Afghan Village Voices.

Jonathan Neale studied anthropology at LSE and did fieldwork in Afghanistan, before becoming a professional writer. His most recent book is Fight the Fire: Green New Deals and Global Climate Jobs. In February he returned to Afghanistan for the first time in 51 years as a keynote speaker at an international climate conference in Jalalabad.

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