Nancy Howell

Nancy Howell spent three years living in Botswana, studying the Kung Bushmen, a hunting and gathering people of the Kalahari desert, and a lifetime trying to figure out what all that data means. She is the author of Demography of the Dobe Kung (1979 and 2000) and Life Histories of the Dobe Kung (2010), along with many scholarly articles about the !King speakers.

Lately, she has been thinking about writing a third book, on what life must have been like for our hunting and gathering ancestors in Africa in the period of 50,000 to 10,000 years ago. We know that our ancestors were fully human then. The book would use the questions developed from the study of the Kung and the answers that are emerging from new findings and techniques of analysis from archeology, biological anthropology, genomics, and evolutionary biology. The focus will be on the evidence for critical changes in the bodies, minds, culture and social structure of our evolving species.

Speaker Bio

Professor Emerita Nancy Howell was born in Detroit, Michigan, where she attended public schools. She graduated from Brandeis University in 1963, and earned a Ph.D. in Sociology from Harvard University in 1968. While at Harvard, she married anthropologist Richard Lee, and they went to the Kalahari together from 1967-69 to do their fieldwork. She taught at the University of Toronto in the Department of Sociology fro 35 years, and has also taught at Wellesley College, Princeton, UC Berkley, and the University of Botswana. She lives in Ft. Myers, where she very much enjoys retirement from teaching and administration, while continuing the reading and writing parts of the professorial job.