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Monthly Meetings
We apologize, but due to efforts to minimize the potential to spread the COVID-19 virus, our March monthly meeting is canceled. Please check back for updates on the April meeting.

What are societies, and what keeps them together and tears them apart?

Speaker: Mark W. Moffett

Tuesday, March 17, 2020, 7-8:30 pm

Linder Theater, AMNH (West 77th Street entrance)

If a chimpanzee ventures into the territory of a different group, it will almost certainly be killed. But a New Yorker can fly to Los Angeles–or Borneo–with little fear. Psychologists have done little to explain this: For years, they have held that our biology puts a hard upper limit of about 150 people on the size of our social groups. But human societies are in fact vastly larger, as are the societies of some animals—and especially the social insects. How do such species manage—by and large—to get along with each other? Dr. Moffett examines the social adaptations that bind society members together, and explores how the tension between identity and anonymity defines how those groups work—and sometimes don’t.


Dr. Moffett did his PhD under Edward O. Wilson and may be most widely known for his many articles for the National Geographic magazine. For the last six years, as an entomologist affiliated with the Smithsonian Institution and visiting scholar in anthropology at Harvard, he's been building a synthesis on how societies stay together and fall apart, across species and in humans right up to the present day. His most recent book brings together biology with modern psychology and anthropology with surprising insights. The Human Swarm: How Our Societies Arise, Thrive and Fall has been called “a magisterial work of monumental importance” by Scientific American columnist Michael Shermer, while Kevin Kelly, founder of Wired magazine, tells us to “read this manifesto if you like to have your mind changed.”

Please attend this most informative lecture.

Where:                Linder Theater, AMNH (West 77th Entrance)

Date:                   Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Time:                   7:00 PM to 8:30 PM

Dinner:    Senn Thai Comfort Food, 452 Amsterdam Avenue, 9:00 p.m.

Society meetings are always open to the public with no admission charge.

Archive of Monthly Meetings

February 2020

January 2020

November 2019

May 2019

April 2019

February 2019

November 2018

September 2018

April 2018

March 2018

February 2018

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April 2017

February 2017

January 2017

November 2016

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September 2016

April 2016

March 2016

February 2016

October 2015

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