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Father Time

A Natural History of Men and Babies

«Hrdy has over a long and much-decorated career insisted that, if we want to understand how our species came to be, we need to understand what happened in the dim reaches of our prehistory around babies, mothers and ‘alloparental others’. . . . In chasing after evolutionary levers beyond the usual Darwinian gaze (historically focused on male competition), she has not only helped to create new narratives about what ‘nature’ is, and how we came to be, but also changed the questions younger cohorts of researchers think to ask. . . . [Father Time] reads like a detective story – and [Hrdy] herself is as colourful as Sherlock Holmes."---Michele Pridmore-Brown, Times Literary Supplement»

A sweeping account of male nurturing, explaining how and why men are biologically transformed when they care for babies

It has long seemed self-evident that women care for babies and men do other things. Hasn’t it always been so? When evolutionary science came along, it rubber-stamped this venerable division of labor: mammalian males evolved to compete for status and mates, while females were purpose-built to gestate, suckle, and otherwise nurture the victors’ offspring. But come the twenty-first century, increasing numbers of men are tending babies, sometimes right from birth. How can this be happening? Puzzled and dazzled by the tender expertise of new fathers around the world—several in her own family—celebrated evolutionary anthropologist and primatologist Sarah Blaffer Hrdy set out to trace the deep history of male nurturing and explain a surprising departure from everything she had assumed to be “normal.”

In Father Time, Hrdy draws on a wealth of research to argue that this ongoing transformation in men is not only cultural, but profoundly biological. Men in prolonged intimate contact with babies exhibit responses nearly identical to those in the bodies and brains of mothers. They develop caring potential few realized men possessed. In her quest to explain how men came to nurture babies, Hrdy travels back through millions of years of human, primate, and mammalian evolution, then back further still to the earliest vertebrates—all while taking into account recent economic and social trends and technological innovations and incorporating new findings from neuroscience, genetics, endocrinology, and more. The result is a masterful synthesis of evolutionary and historical perspectives that expands our understanding of what it means to be a man—and what the implications might be for society and our species.

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A sweeping account of male nurturing, explaining how and why men are biologically transformed when they care for babies

It has long seemed self-evident that women care for babies and men do other things. Hasn’t it always been so? When evolutionary science came along, it rubber-stamped this venerable division of labor: mammalian males evolved to compete for status and mates, while females were purpose-built to gestate, suckle, and otherwise nurture the victors’ offspring. But come the twenty-first century, increasing numbers of men are tending babies, sometimes right from birth. How can this be happening? Puzzled and dazzled by the tender expertise of new fathers around the world—several in her own family—celebrated evolutionary anthropologist and primatologist Sarah Blaffer Hrdy set out to trace the deep history of male nurturing and explain a surprising departure from everything she had assumed to be “normal.”

In Father Time, Hrdy draws on a wealth of research to argue that this ongoing transformation in men is not only cultural, but profoundly biological. Men in prolonged intimate contact with babies exhibit responses nearly identical to those in the bodies and brains of mothers. They develop caring potential few realized men possessed. In her quest to explain how men came to nurture babies, Hrdy travels back through millions of years of human, primate, and mammalian evolution, then back further still to the earliest vertebrates—all while taking into account recent economic and social trends and technological innovations and incorporating new findings from neuroscience, genetics, endocrinology, and more. The result is a masterful synthesis of evolutionary and historical perspectives that expands our understanding of what it means to be a man—and what the implications might be for society and our species.

Detaljer

Forlag
Princeton University Press
Innbinding
Innbundet
Språk
Engelsk
Sider
432
ISBN
9780691238777
Utgivelsesår
2024
Format
24 x 16 cm

Om forfatteren

Sarah Blaffer Hrdy is professor emerita of anthropology at the University of California, Davis. She is the author of The Woman That Never Evolved, Mother Nature, and Mothers and Others: The Evolutionary Origins of Mutual Understanding.

Anmeldelser

«Hrdy has over a long and much-decorated career insisted that, if we want to understand how our species came to be, we need to understand what happened in the dim reaches of our prehistory around babies, mothers and ‘alloparental others’. . . . In chasing after evolutionary levers beyond the usual Darwinian gaze (historically focused on male competition), she has not only helped to create new narratives about what ‘nature’ is, and how we came to be, but also changed the questions younger cohorts of researchers think to ask. . . . [Father Time] reads like a detective story – and [Hrdy] herself is as colourful as Sherlock Holmes."---Michele Pridmore-Brown, Times Literary Supplement»

«A New Statesman Best Book of the Academic Presses»

«A mesmerizing, masterfully written book on the transformative power of human parenting»

Kirkus Reviews starred review

«When a scientist of Hrdy's caliber gets curious about something, a deep dive into multifaceted research begins. In [Father Time], she traces the origins of male nurturing across vertebrate, mammalian, primate, and hominid evolution, up to our current moment in history. Along the way, the reader learns about reproductive strategies in various creatures, including the poison dart frog, the cassowary, the meerkat, and the titi monkey, as well as our Homo sapiens selves.... The reading is so nutrient-rich that you will want to pause, digest, reflect, delight, and then urgently read on"---Claudia Casper, Los Angeles Review of Books»

«[A] detailed book. . . . [With] thought-provoking questions. . . . A fascinating read. . . . [Hrdy] makes a convincing and persuasive argument."---Glenda Cooper, Daily Mail»

«Evolutionary anthropologist Hrdy sets out to demolish the still prevalent view that, with the exception of lactation and breastfeeding, women are better suited than men to nurture babies and bring up infants. She employs cultural and scientific arguments going deep into mammalian evolution to show that, given the opportunity, the male biological response to babies is virtually the same as the female."---Clive Cookson, Financial Times»

«Father Time will change minds, but more importantly, it points the way to a different type of science, one that takes into account how culture shapes biology and doesn’t stand apart from it. . . . Hrdy is, without exaggeration, one of the most important thinkers in evolutionary biology since Darwin . . . Her beautiful writing retains as much power to astound and educate as ever."---Angela Saini, Telegraph»

«Hrdy’s writing is a joy to read. . . . Father Time will be valued by anyone interested in male care of infants and children. Hrdy’s broad, accessible writing will appeal to non-scientists, but her peers will appreciate her summary of current research on the hormonal and neurobiological aspects of male care. As a biological anthropologist focused on fatherhood and men’s investments in children, I certainly learnt a great deal."---Kermyt G. Anderson, Nature»

«I turned to [Father Time] seeking validation and found something much better: the complete destabilization of my concept of paternity."---Dan Piepenbring, Harper's Magazine»

«[Sarah Blaffer Hrdy] is a rare science writer who combines mastery of her field with warm, readable prose. . . . Her life’s work has been to reinvent the way we think about ourselves, and to disentangle gender myths from the more flexible truths about human behaviour."---Sarah Ditum, Sunday Times»

«Both cultural norms and evolutionary science have long held that caring for babies is primarily the woman’s domain. But when the anthropologist Sarah Blaffer Hrdy noticed that the role of fathers was changing, her research led her to discover the profound biological and social implications of a nurturing masculinity.»

New Statesman

«A rich journey for the reader that not only provides a greater understanding of the evolution of fatherhood but also demonstrates how...the researcher’s personal experiences...can spawn new perspectives and insights....This is a remarkable book, filled with detailed scientific information, expert interpretations of the data, and a brilliant narrative voice."---Richard Bribiescas, Harvard Magazine»

«I love how Hrdy sweeps across thousands of millennia, and dozens of species. I love how she convinces us, given that widespread and million-year legacy, and given that most of all the way contemporary Aka, Hadza, and American fathers are behaving, H. sap males manifestly can parent as well as females. And I love how Hrdy weaves so much of that narrative into her personal story."---Laura Betzig, Psychology Today»

«An outstanding examination of the history and science of fatherhood.... Revelatory scientific studies shedding light on men’s biological proclivity for caring...complement the edifying history. It amounts to an invaluable deep history of dads.»

Publishers Weekly starred review

«

Father Time.... picks up where Mother Nature and Mothers and Others left off. [Hrdy's] interest lies in how external forces shape what’s happening inside our bodies, and vice versa. She contends that the
emergence of more egalitarian norms of parenthood aren't just changing society; they could change the biochemical makeup of men, too."

"---Hua Hsu, New Yorker»

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