David Barash

David Barash’s Lecture to Kick Off the 2013-14 Campus Theme at Hartwick

August 21, 2013

Professor of Psychology at the University of Washington Dr. David Barash will speak on "Passing the Pain Along: A New Look at the Causes of Violence" at Hartwick College on Thursday, September 19 at 8 p.m. 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.

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," said Hartwick College Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Michael Tannenbaum. "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.

To date, he has written two dozen books on aspects of these fields, including Peace and Conflict Studies, Homo Mysterious, Strange Bedfellows, How Women Got Their Curves and Other Just-So Stories, Evolutionary Enigmas, Natural Selections, The Mammal in the Mirror, Ideas of Human Nature, Understanding Violence, Approaches to Peace, Beloved Enemies, Making Sense of Sex, and many others. Barash also is a frequent contributor to the Chronicle Review, the magazine portion of The Chronicle of Higher Education.

According to Barash, "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.

"Dr. Barash's many popular books address urgent social problems with knowledge from the sciences and humanities," said Hartwick College Professor of English Dr. Robert Bensen. "His work is always surprising and intriguing."

This lecture will serve as the opening event for the 2013-14 Hartwick College Campus Theme program, 'Exploration.' This year's campus theme serves to encourage Hartwick students and faculty to explore different realms of knowledge, and to develop the curiosity to continue to be explorers, both professionally and personally.  

Sponsored by the Hartwick College programs and departments in Cognitive Sciences, Psychology, Philosophy, Biology, Academic Affairs, The Visiting Writers Series, Campus Theme, and Peace & Conflict Studies, Barash's speech is free of charge, and the community is encouraged to attend.

A reception including refreshments and a book-signing will follow Barash's lecture. Copies of his work will be available via the Hartwick College Barnes & Noble Bookstore for purchase prior to and after the reading.

For additional information on the event, contact Bensen at 607-431-4902 or

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Hartwick College is a private liberal arts and sciences college of 1,500 students, located in Oneonta, NY, in the northern foothills of the Catskill Mountains. Hartwick's expansive curriculum emphasizes an experiential approach to the liberal arts. Through personalized teaching, collaborative research, a distinctive January Term, a wide range of internships, and vast study-abroad opportunities, Hartwick ensures that students are prepared for not just their first jobs, but for the world ahead. A Three-Year Bachelor's Degree Program and strong financial aid and scholarship offerings keep a Hartwick education affordable.

Contact: Valerie Capullo
Phone: 607-431-4031