February 02, 2015, BY Kathryn Kopchik

Jonathan GottschallJonathan Gottschall will give the talk, "The Storytelling Animal: How Stories Make Us Human," Thursday, Feb. 19, at noon in Trout Auditorium of the Vaughan Literature Building at Bucknell University.

The talk, which is free and open to the public, is presented in honor of Darwin Day. It is co-sponsored by the University Lectureship Committee, the Departments of Biology and English, and the Bucknell Innovation Group.

Gottschall is the author of The Storytelling Animal: How Stories Make Us Human (2012), a New York Times Editor's Choice Selection and a finalist for the LA Times Book Prize.

In his talk, he will explore how storytelling not only makes us human, but may have been a key evolutionary advantage for our species. He also will touch on the subject of his forthcoming book, Professor in the Cage, a look at rule-bound male violence as a means to work out conflicts and thrash out hierarchies.

"Jonathan's work is a model of interdisciplinarity: He is a writer who, by connecting literature, history and science, asks his readers to consider the notion that every aspect of human nature is a function of  human evolutionary biology," said Chris Martine, David Burpee Professor of Plant Genetics and Research at Bucknell.

A TED presenter and contributor to Radiolab, Gottschall is Distinguished Research Fellow in the English Department at Washington & Jefferson College. His research at the intersection of science and art has frequently been covered in outlets including The New York Times Magazine, The New York Times, Scientific American, The New Yorker, The Atlantic, The Chronicle of Higher Education, Nature, Science, BBC Radio and NPR. 

His books include: The Literary Animal: Evolution and the Nature of Narrative (2005) edited with David Sloan Wilson; The Rape of Troy: Evolution, Violence and the World of Homer (2008); Literature, Science and a New Humanities (2008); Evolution, Literature and Film: A Reader co-edited with Brian Boyd and Joseph Carroll; and Graphing Jane Austen: The Evolutionary Basis of Literary Meaning (2012) co-authored with Joseph Carroll, John Johnson and Dan Kruger.

His blog, The Storytelling Animal, is featured at Psychology Today.

The Bucknell Department of Biology has organized an annual Darwin Day talk since 2009, last year hosting award-winning science writer and biologist Rob Dunn. International Darwin Day is held on or around the Feb. 12 birthday anniversary of biologist Charles Darwin.