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Personally Speaking Sept. 24: Jon Marks

In the first of the 2013-14 Personally Speaking community talks, UNC Charlotte anthropology professor Jonathan Marks will share the story behind his lively and provocative book, Why I Am Not a Scientist: Anthropology and Modern Knowledge, University of California Press; 1 edition (June 23, 2009).

Marks’ talk is scheduled for Tuesday, Sept. 24 at 6:30 p.m. at UNC Charlotte Center City. He is the first of four UNC Charlotte College of Liberal Arts & Sciences scholars who will discuss their research and their books during this year’s series, co-sponsored by the college and J. Murrey Atkins Library. Each free lecture is followed by a reception. RSVPs are requested to CLAS-Event@uncc.eduor 704-687-0082. Parking is provided. More information:

In a discussion characterized by his sense of humor and insight, Marks will explore biological anthropology, the history of the life sciences and the literature of science studies through an innovative approach that integrates philosophy, history, sociology, and auto-ethnography.

Marks argues that science is considered to be three things: a method of understanding and establishing facts about the universe, the facts themselves, and a voice of authority or a locus of cultural power. Marks will consider these roles and their impact on the evolution of science, its relationship to modern culture and science’s current challenges.

Marks specializes in the study of human evolution and human diversity. For the 2013-2014 academic year, Marks is a Templeton Fellow at the Notre Dame Institute for Advanced Study, researching “How to Think About Human Evolution.” His primary areas of interest include biological anthropology, human genetics, history of anthropological thought, and evolution and society.

He is the author of several other books, including Human Biodiversity (1995) and What It Means to be 98% Chimpanzee (2002), and over 100 articles in edited volumes and scholarly journals, including Science and Nature. He has served on the editorial boards of The Journal of Human Evolution, International Journal of Primatology, Yearbook of Physical Anthropology, and Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute.

He presents regularly at conferences and was a featured speaker at TEDxEast, a New York City-based TED conference-inspired gathering that hosts “some of the world's most fascinating thinkers, doers and teachers to inspire attendees to create greater impact with their ideas,” the organization says.

In 2012, Marks received the First Citizens Bank Scholars Medal, presented by First Citizens Bank and UNC Charlotte in honor of faculty scholarship and intellectual inquiry. Marks also received the 1999 Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching from the American Anthropological Association, and served as President of its General Anthropology Division from 2000-2002. In 2006 he was elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. In the last few years he has been a Visiting Research Fellow at the ESRC Genomics Forum in Edinburgh and at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin. His work has received the W. W. Howells Book Prize from the American Anthropological Association’s Biological Anthropology Section, the General Anthropology Division Prize for Exemplary Cross-Field Scholarship, and the J. A. Staley Prize from the School for Advanced Research.

by Lynn Roberson
College of Liberal Arts & Sciences