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September 12, 2013

Hartwick lecture to address causes of violence


Dr. David Barash, a professor of psychology at the University of Washington, will speak on “Passing the Pain Along: A New Look at the Causes of Violence” at  8 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 19, at Hartwick College.

Barash’s talk is open to the public free of charge, and will be held in the theatre of the Anderson Center for the Arts on the Hartwick College campus, according to a media release.

During his talk, Barash will explore what he calls “the Three Rs of violence: Retaliation, revenge and redirected aggression.” The lecture will combine in-depth discussions of physiology, evolutionary biology, world politics, anthropology and literature.

“David Barash is a great role model for liberally-educated Hartwick students who hope their future professional lives are not constrained by disciplinary boundaries,” Hartwick College Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Michael Tannenbaum said in the media release. “The fact that his work explores multiple disciplines and their intersections very pointedly illustrates our 2013-14 Campus Theme of ‘Exploration.’”

Barash’s work combining sociobiology in animal studies, evolutionary psychology in human behavior, and peace studies has been devoted to questions of how biology affects behavior especially in reproductive strategies and in the problem of violence in living things generally.

He has written two dozen books on aspects of these fields. Barash also is a frequent contributor to the “Chronicle Review,” the magazine portion of “The Chronicle of Higher Education.”

According to Barash, in the media release, “From the child taunted by her playmates to the office worker who feels stifled in his daily routine, people frequently take out their pain and anger on others, even those who had nothing to do with the original stress. Payback can be directed anywhere, sometimes at inanimate things, animals, other people, even whole nations.”

Barash will explore how this tendency has evolved, why it occurs, and what we can do about it.

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