Kinship is disputed territory, investigated by a wide array of disciplines that include anthropology, cultural studies, evolutionary biology, family studies, genetics, law, medicine, psychology, sociology, and women’s and gender studies. Kinship classifications change across cultures and over time. As measures of legitimacy and arbiters of social standing, such categories have significant consequences. In the contemporary world, kinship is in flux as a result of such developments as reproductive technologies, blended families, same-sex marriage rights, and shifting gender roles. Our kin is not limited to humans, however. We belong to a vast evolutionary family tree, the history of which may influence the ways we interact with kin and organize kinship itself. The 2013 MU Life Sciences & Society Symposium, Claiming Kin, will explore the evolution of kin groups and evolving notions of kinship.
Stephanie Coontz (Evergreen State College; Director of Research and Public Education for the Council on Contemporary Families) Historian of the family and author of award-winning Marriage, A History: How Love Conquered Marriage (Viking Press, 2005) with articles in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, LIFE, as well as professional journals. Coontz has appeared on TV shows such as the Colbert Report, Oprah Winfrey, and the PBS News Hour, and has testified about families before Congress.
Bernard Chapais (University of Montreal) Anthropologist and primatologist studying the social behavior of primates as well as human society, kinship systems and family.
Martin Daly (McMaster University; University of Missouri) Evolutionary psychologist and anthropologist studying parent-offspring relations, family violence, kinship. Researcher of the Cinderella Effect.
David Haig (Harvard University) Evolutionary biologist and geneticist studying parent-offspring conflict using a model of kin selection, as well as intragenomic conflict and genomic imprinting.
Theresa Kelley (University of Wisconsin) Studies literature, Romanticism and history of science. Author of Clandestine Marriage: Botany and Romantic Culture (John Hopkins University Press, 2012).
Barbara Natterson (UCLA) Cardiologist interested in bringing together veterinary medicine, human medicine, evolutionary and wildlife biology to explore the potential for a species-spanning approach to health. Author of Zoobiquity.
Charmaine Royal (Duke University) Investigates intersection of genetics/genomics and concepts of "race", ancestry, ethnicity, and identity. Addresses human health and well-being through the integration of genetic and genomic research with social, behavioral, and humanities research.
Charis Thompson (UC-Berkeley) Studies science, technology, and gender issues. Author of Making Parents: The Ontological Choreography of Reproductive Technologies (MIT Press, 2005) winner of the 2007 Rachel Carson Award from the Society for the Social Study of Science.
Robert Walker (University of Missouri) Anthropologist researching the evolution of human bio-cultural variation including cultural phylogenetics and partible paternity.
Napoleon Chagnon (University of Missouri) Anthropologist best recognized for his studies of the Yanomamo tribe of the Amazon, including demography, settlement patterns, and geographical variations. Author of numerous books, including Yanomamo: The Fierce People.