This lively, provocative text presents a new way to understand friendship. Professor John Terrell argues that the ability to make friends is an evolved human trait not unlike our ability to walk upright on two legs or our capacity for speech and complex abstract reasoning. Terrell charts how this trait has evolved by investigating two unique functions of the human brain: the ability to remake the outside world to suit our collective needs, and our capacity to escape into our own inner thoughts and imagine how things might and ought to be. The text is richly illustrated and written in an engaging style, and will appeal to students, scholars, and general readers interested in anthropology, evolutionary and cognitive science, and psychology more broadly.
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John Edward Terrell, A.B., A.M., Ph.D. (Harvard) has long been recognized as one of the world's leading experts on the peopling of the Oceania and the remarkable biological, cultural, and linguistic diversity of modern Pacific Islanders. He is also a pioneer in the study of global human biogeography, baseline probability analysis, and the application of social network analysis in archaeology and anthropology. Since 1971 he has been the curator of Oceanic archaeology and ethnology at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago where he now holds the endowed Regenstein Curatorship of Pacific Anthropology established there in 2005. A strong voice for recognizing museums today as key players in global heritage management, he is currently working closely with Chicago's large Filipino-American community to foster the co-curation with them of Field Museum's outstanding early 20th century Philippines cultural collections.
The author of more than 180 books, scientific papers, reports, and reviews, his book Prehistory in the Pacific Islands (Cambridge, 1986, paper 1988) is considered by many to be a classic study of human diversity in all its complexity. He has been called one of the best writers in anthropology today, someone with a keen and well-demonstrated commitment to writing that can be read for pleasure as well as content. He also has the distinction of being the resident kaitiaki (guardian) of the only 19th century Maori meeting house in the New World, Ruatepupuke II, now at the Field Museum but originally from Tokomaru Bay, Aotearoa (New Zealand) where it was first opened with great pomp and circumstance in 1881.
"Terrell is a fine storyteller, and the book is an engaging read with a number of thought-provoking case studies and examples...The book's select case studies nicely illustrate the importance of friendship among human in a few places and times...an enjoyable read that weaves together many streams of thought and case studies to illustrate the remarkable capacity that humans can have for building new relationships with strangers." --Daniel Hruschka, American Anthropologist
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