Human Skin Color is the Product of Evolution and is Important to Talk About


Start Date: Jan 29, 2021 - 10:00am

Location: Presented via Zoom

The Department of Anthropology kicked off the Spring 2021 Anthropology Colloquia Speaker Series with a presentation from Dr. Nina G. Jablonski entitled Human Skin Color is the Product of Evolution and is Important to Talk About on Friday, January 29 at 10 am.

Nina G. Jablonski is Evan Pugh University Professor of Anthropology at The Pennsylvania State University. She is a biological anthropologist by training, and devoted her career to basic research on how primates, including humans, have adapted to their environment. For the last 30 years, she has been most intrigued by questions in human evolution not directly answered by the fossil record, foremost among these being the evolution of human skin and skin pigmentation. She is interested not only in the evolution of skin pigmentation, but also in the many other meanings and ramifications of skin color in modern life, including its implications for health and its connection with concepts of race. In addition to 175 peer-reviewed scholarly articles, Jablonski has written two popular books for adults: Skin: A Natural History (2006) and Living Color: The Biological and Social Meaning of Skin Color (2012), both published by University of California Press. Her first book for children, Skin We Are In, was published in South Africa in 2018 by David Philip Publishers. Jablonski received her A.B. in Biology at Bryn Mawr College in 1975 and her Ph.D. in Anthropology at the University of Washington in 1981. She is an elected Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. She is the recipient of an Alphonse Fletcher, Sr. Fellowship (2005), a Guggenheim Fellowship (2012), and an honorary doctorate from University of Stellenbosch in South Africa (2010) for her contribution to the worldwide fight against racism. Jablonski’s current research and educational projects include a major educational initiative aimed at promoting youth interest in STEM through the study of personal genetic and genealogical ancestry.

Hosted by the Department of Anthropology and the Alfonso Ortiz Center for Intercultural Studies, the Department Colloquia Speaker Series will be held virtually via Zoom on Fridays at 10 am, and will be made available on our You Tube account following the event.  Upcoming speakers include (more details forthcoming): 

February 5           Kristina Jacobsen (UNM)

February 12        Kathryn Olszowy (New Mexico State)

February 19        Megan Cole (UNM)

February 26        Amy Thompson (The Field Museum of Natural History)

March 5                Luisa Maffi (Terralingua)

March 12             Pilar File-Muriel (UNM) and Chelsey Dyer (Vanderbilt University)

March 26             Jada Benn Torres (Vanderbilt University)

April 2                   Jonathan Dombrosky (UNM)

April 9                   Osbjorn Pearson (UNM)

April 16                Katherine Starkweather (University of Illinois, Chicago)

April 23                Nicholas Emlen (University of Tübingen)

April 30                 Suzanne Gaskins (Northeastern Illinois)

May 7                    Zwedi Tsegai (Max Planck Institute)