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The Apes & Us: A Century of Thinking About Humans Among the Primates

Event Sponsor
Department of History, Stanford Libraries, Silicon Valley Archives
Green Library, Silicon Valley Archives Presentation Palace (557 Escondido Mall, Stanford, CA 94305-6063)

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Organized by Stanford History Professors Jessica Riskin and Caroline Winterer,  and Ph.D. Candidate Max Fennell-Chametzky,  this two-day conference brings together scholars from the United States, Asia, and Europe to explore a century of representations of primates in relation to humans. The conference is organized in conjunction with the Winter 2024 course, HISTORY 41Q/GLOBAL 41Q: The Ape Museum: Exploring the Idea of the Ape in Global History, Science, Art and Film, and the The Apes & Us: A Century of Representations of Our Closest Relatives exhibition on display at the Green Library until June 21, 2024.


Conference Schedule:

Friday, February 9, 2024

10am-10:30am: Welcome remarks,  Jessica Riskin and Caroline Winterer

10:30am-12:30pm:  “Faces”

Pratik Chakrabarti, “‘What Are These Singular People?’: Primates, Humans, and Other Humans”

Susan K. McConnell, “Emotional Images: capturing and conveying feeling in wildlife photography”

Joanna Wysocka, “Individuality and Diversity of the Human Facial Form”

Longkai Zang, “Primitive Man and Ape-man: Understanding and Imagining Early Human Evolution in China 1900-1949”

1:45pm-2:45pm: “Ex-Apes and Unknowable Apes”

Jonathan Marks, “How We Became Apes”

Catherine Mas, “A Meeting of Minds: Cuban Primates and Converging Psychologies”

3pm-4pm:  “Primate Emblems and Taxonomies”

Kenneth Gouwens, “The Classified Ape in the European Encyclopedic Tradition, 1550-1650”

Jessica Riskin, “The Self-Made Primate, a Mixed Portrait”

Saturday, February 10, 2024

10:30am-12:30pm: “Hands and Feet”

Jeremy DeSilva, “The (Ancient) Apes & Us: A View from the Fossils”

Caroline Winterer, “The Caveman Within Us”

Emily Kern, “Neanderthals at the Boundary: Evolution, Culture, and Anatomy between Man and Ape”

Erika Milam, “The Monkey & the ‘Hydrogen Man’—Masculine Authenticity in the Nuclear Age”

1:45pm-3:15pm: “Language”

Julia Fischer, “Primate Vocal Communication and the Evolution of Speech”

Gregory Radick, “Nine Lives of a Sulky Chimpanzee”

Max Fennell-Chametzky, “‘Incidentally, this hope was shared by Dr. Doolittle,’: Eric H. Lenneberg, the Linguistic Ape, and the Nature of Man”

3:15pm-4:15pm: Concluding Remarks and Discussion 

Moderated by Jessica Riskin, Caroline Winterer, and Karen Darling

Conference Participants:

Pratik Chakrabarti, NEH Cullen Chair in History and Medicine, University of Houston

Karen Darling, Executive Editor in History and Philosophy of Science, University of Chicago Press

Jeremy DeSilva, Professor of Anthropology, Dartmouth University

Max Fennell-Chametzky, PhD Candidate in History of Science, Stanford University

Julia Fischer, Professor of Primate Cognition, Georg-August-University of Göttingen; Head of the Cognitive Ethology Laboratory, German Primate Center

Kenneth Gouwens, Professor Emeritus of History, University of Connecticut 

Emily Kern, Assistant Professor of the History of Science and the College, The University of Chicago

Jonathan Marks, Professor of Anthropology, University of North Carolina at Charlotte

Catherine Mas, Assistant Professor of Modern American History, Florida International University

Susan K. McConnell, Susan B. Ford Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences, Emerita, active, Stanford University

Erika Milam, Charles C. and Emily R. Gillispie Professor in the History of Science; Professor of History, Princeton University

Gregory Radick, Professor of History and Philosophy of Science, University of Leeds

Jessica Riskin, Frances and Charles Field Professor of History, Stanford University

Caroline Winterer, William Robertson Coe Professor of History, Stanford University

Joanna Wysocka, Lorry Lokey Professor and Professor of Developmental Biology, Stanford University

Longkai Zang, Dual M.S. Program in History and Social Studies of Science and Technology, Tsinghua University and Tokyo Institute of Technology