Barbara J. King

Barbara J. King is a contributor to the NPR blog 13.7: Cosmos & Culture. She is a Chancellor Professor of Anthropology at the College of William and Mary. With a long-standing research interest in primate behavior and human evolution, King has studied baboon foraging in Kenya and gorilla and bonobo communication at captive facilities in the United States.

Recently, she has taken up writing about animal emotion and cognition more broadly, including in bison, farm animals, elephants and domestic pets, as well as primates.

King's most recent book is How Animals Grieve (University of Chicago Press, 2013). Her article "When Animals Mourn" in the July 2013 Scientific American has been chosen for inclusion in the 2014 anthology The Best American Science and Nature Writing. King reviews non-fiction for the Times Literary Supplement (London) and is at work on a new book about the choices we make in eating other animals. She was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship for her work in 2002.

13.7: Cosmos And Culture
12:05 pm
Thu September 11, 2014

Still Now, Should Lab Monkeys Be Deprived Of Their Mothers?


Originally published on Thu September 11, 2014 3:00 pm

On Monday, the animal advocacy organization PETA released material in support of its campaign to shut down a series of experiments on infant rhesus monkeys carried out at the Laboratory of Comparative Ethology, part of the National Institutes of Health.

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13.7: Cosmos And Culture
5:04 am
Thu September 4, 2014

The Koan Of The Cat And The Frog

Originally published on Thu September 4, 2014 9:28 am

Any of us connected with the school calendar — teachers and academic staff, students and their parents — are right now plunging into new beginnings.

September brings a fresh season, also, in the publishing world, in theater and dance and music, and in some sports.

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13.7: Cosmos And Culture
10:35 am
Thu August 28, 2014

Atheists Feel Awe, Too


Originally published on Thu August 28, 2014 2:54 pm

In Elizabeth Gilbert's brilliant novel The Signature of All Things, Alma Whittaker, the central character who was born in Philadelphia in 1800, is destined for a highly unconventional life as a woman in science.

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13.7: Cosmos And Culture
5:24 am
Thu August 21, 2014

Grappling With Trigger Warnings And Trauma On Campus


Originally published on Thu August 21, 2014 10:33 am

On Tuesday, I posted syllabi for the two undergraduate anthropology classes I will teach this fall: Evolutionary Perspectives on Gender and Primate Behavior. As the academic year at my college nears its start, I can't help but reflect on the extra layers of complexity involved in syllabus construction nowadays compared to when I first started out as a teacher in the 1980s.

A central question I grappled with earlier this week as I wrote and revised my syllabi was whether I should include trigger warnings.

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13.7: Cosmos And Culture
10:39 am
Thu August 14, 2014

Immersion In Nature, Naturally, Can Be Risky

Road Through The Valley at Canyonlands National Park.
Paul Giamou iStock

Originally published on Fri August 15, 2014 3:54 am

Canyonlands National Park in Utah is "a landscape of canyons, mesas and deep-river gorges" that invites its visitors to revel in nature. An hour's drive from Moab and part of the Colorado Plateau, Canyonlands sprawls across 337,000 desert acres.

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13.7: Cosmos And Culture
2:46 pm
Thu August 7, 2014

Why Are We So Scared Of Ebola?

Cynthia Goldsmith/Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Originally published on Fri August 8, 2014 10:02 am

The question of why the Ebola virus seems to so badly frighten so many people seems, at first, to have an obvious answer.

Ebola, after all, is an incurable hemorrhagic virus with a mortality rate that soars in some outbreaks to 90 percent of those infected. Symptoms in sufferers with advanced disease go beyond high fever and gastrointestinal misery to bleeding from the mouth, nose, ears and eyes.

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13.7: Cosmos And Culture
2:54 pm
Thu July 31, 2014

Seeking A Saner Food System, Three Times A Day

Not all cows get to spend their days with soft green grass under hoof. For many, the picture isn't so pretty, according to the book Farmageddon.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Thu July 31, 2014 6:40 pm

For Philip Lymbery, head of the U.K.-based Compassion in World Farming and his co-author Isabel Oakeshott, a visit to California's Central Valley amounted to an encounter with suffering.

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