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WEIRD America

Anthropologist discusses Western culture

By Maggie Jones

Peter Peregrine will present “Americans are WEIRD” at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 29, at the Waupaca Area Public Library.
Hosted by Winchester Academy, the program is free and open to the public.

Peregrine contends that “Americans are members of a group of Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich, Democratic (WEIRD) cultures which together tend to dominate global cultural norms and practices.”

But those now dominant norms and practices were, until recently, quite rare in the world. Most of the world’s traditional cultures allowed polygynous marriage, they expected married children to live at home, and they desired (and sometimes required) first cousins to marry.

“Many things that we find abnormal or even illegal today were common practices in traditional cultures,” Peregrin said.

Peregrine is an anthropologist, archaeologist and scholar. As a professor of anthropology at Lawrence University in Appleton, he has researched human behavior, focusing on institutions and social systems.

He has been working with other scholars at the Santa Fe Institute to integrate archaeological, linguistic and genetic information to understand how modern humans expanded across the earth over the last 50,000 years.

Peregrine received his doctorate from Purdue University. He serves on the editorial boards of American Anthropologist, Cross-Cultural Research and is past-president of the Society for Anthropological Sciences. In 2011, he was elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Peregrine’s program is sponsored by Vance and Ann Linden.

Winchester Academy program expenses are funded through sponsors and tax-deductible donations.

For more information about Winchester Academy, visit winchesteracademywaupaca.org or contact Executive Director Ann Buerger Linden at 715-258-2927 or [email protected].

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