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Human Sciences Graduate Conference 2014

Locandina Giornata di Dialogo 29 maggio 20142014: Emanuele Serrelli co-chairs the Third Edition of the Doctorate School of Human Sciences, University of Milano Bicocca (May 29). The conference is organized by PhDs at the Department of Human Sciences. In 2012 Emanuele Serrelli conceived, co-organized, and co-chaired the first edition of this lasting initiative. Check out the 2013 edition.

Proceedings:

Businaro N, Mangiatordi A, Oggionni F, Pezzotti A, Serrelli E, Vitale A, eds. (2014). Giornate di Dialogo dei Dottorandi III edizione – 29 Maggio 2014. Contributions by Celo P, Della Zoppa L, Ferrante A, Jorio F, Landonio S, Mantovani SC, et al. Milano: Dipartimento di Scienze Umane per la Formazione “Riccardo Massa”.  [https://boa.unimib.it/handle/10281/62087]

Organizing committee: Nicoletta Businaro, Silvia Cescato, Barbara Girani De Marco, Alessandra Lazazzara, Stefano Malatesta, Andrea Mangiatordi, Francesca Oggionni, Antonella Pezzotti, Emanuele Serrelli, Francesca Strik Lievers, Alessia Vitale.

Programme on Academia

PROGRAMME

10.00/10.30

Saluti istituzionali ed Introduzione all’iniziativa

Prof.ssa Kanizsa – Prof.ssa Formenti – Prof. Fabietti

10.30/11.30

SILVIA COSTANZA MANTOVANI: Ricerca in didattica della matematica: uno studio di caso

GERMANA MOSCONI: La giustizia e l’ingiustizia a scuola: i vissuti e le rappresentazioni degli insegnanti in relazione agli studenti nelle quotidiane pratiche educative e didattiche in classe

MONICA MARINONI: “STUCK IN A MOMENT”, ovvero, quando il campo non (R)accoglie

11.30/12.30

LETIZIA DELLA ZOPPA: Accogliere la creatività a scuola

LUCA MORINI: Mappe per un Mondo Giocoso: Creatività, Reti e Mondi Possibili

STEFANIA MOLTENI: Creatività, competenze socio emotive e disturbi dello spettro autistico

12.30/14.00 Pausa Pranzo

14.00/15.00

ALESSANDRA INDELICATO: Mito e tragedia antica per una genealogia del Sé

FEDERICA JORIO: Immaginare la formazione. Una narrazione per costruire conoscenza di e in formazione con futuri educatori.

ALESSANDRO FERRANTE: Per una ridefinizione paradigmatica in pedagogia: dall’antropocentrismo al post-umanesimo

15.00-15.30 Pausa Caffè

15.30/16.30

STEFANO LANDONIO: Genitori, desiderio e gesto educativo

PIETRO CELO: Studio pilota sull’apprendimento della lettura e della scrittura di bambini sordi nella scuola bilingue Centre Effatà di Saaba/Ouagadougou

MARIA ELENA SCOTTI: Padri che leggono ai figli

16.30/17.30

IRYNA PRUS: The role of person-environment fit in predicting work engagement: a cross-national study

MARIA BENEDETTA GAMBACORTI-PASSERINI: L’incontro nella pratica tra sapere medico/sanitario e sapere pedagogico

TIZIANA MORGANDI: Esperienze e processi di conoscenza dei bambini nei Centri per Bambini e Famiglie

17.30/18.00 Chiusura dei Lavori

Aperitivo sociale

Language and Imagination in Teaching Education

I am interviewed by Manuela Campanelli in the online version of the important Italian national newspaper, Corriere.it, February 19, 2014.

Article title: “I ragazzi e i misteri dell’evoluzione «È un po’ come i Pokemon?» Usare i linguaggi e l’immaginazione dei più giovani per avvicinarli nel modo corretto a concetti scientifici complessi“.

Read it on Academia.

Understanding variation beyond the Modern Synthesis

In 2013 Emanuele Serrelli organized the session “Understanding variation beyond the Modern Synthesis” at the International Society for the History, Philosophy, and Social Studies of Biology Sunday, 7-11 July, Montpellier, France. The session, supported by AppEEL, includes Pablo Razeto-Barry and Davide Vecchi (Instituto de Filosofía y Ciencias de la Complejidad, Santiago, Chile) and Nathalie Gontier (University of Lisbon).

Emanuele’s paper:

Serrelli E (2013). Phenotypic variation in ecological setting: a challenge for evolutionary modeling beyond the Modern Synthesis. Meeting of the International Society for History, Philosophy, and Social Studies of Biology (ISHPSSB), Montpellier, France, July 7-11. [BOA] [Ac]

Other talks in the session:

Variation in a world with multiple levels, mechanisms, and units of evolution: The Applied Evolutionary Epistemology Approach
Nathalie Gontier

Scholars working within the units and levels of selection debate have been developing more and more refined heuristics of how evolution by means of natural selection works. A motivation of such endeavor has been the question whether individual organisms are the only, or the most appropriate, units of natural selection, or whether groups, traits, a (set of) genes or behaviors, developmental systems, population, species can also be considered as units of selection. Heuristics based on natural selection have also been applied in order to assess whether evolution by natural selection can occur within phenomena that are traditionally understood to be extra-biological, such as cultural units, artifacts, neural maps, cognitive traits, altruistic rules etc. This abstraction and extension of natural selection to the sociocultural domain, provides a unified scientific methodology that enables scholars to study the evolution of life as well as the evolution of cognition, science, culture and any other phenomenon displayed by living organisms by means of natural selection theory. Today, with the several pleas there exist to extend the Modern Synthesis, evolutionary biologists are acknowledging the importance of mechanisms such as lateral gene transfer, symbiogenesis, drift, etc. Applied Evolutionary epistemology is a methodology that provides more open heuristics to assess how these mechanisms associated with an extended synthesis work, what their units and levels, and where they are active. Associated with this endavour is not only the recognition of multiple units, levels and mechanisms of evolution, but also to acknowledgement that there are different kinds of evolution (the evolution of the brain, of languages, of culture, of niches, etc). This talk takes the debate a step further, asking how important inter-unit, inter-level and inter-mechanism variation is for a general understanding of evolution.

Mutational Lamarckism and the Modern Synthesis view of mutational randomness as conditional independence
Pablo Razeto-Barry and Davide Vecchi
Current evolutionary biology is based on the legacy of the modern evolutionary synthesis (Huxley 1942). Nevertheless, the Modern Synthesis enshrined natural selection as the director of adaptive evolution not by providing evidence that it did, or could, account for observed adaptations (Leigh 1999), but rather by eliminating competing explanations (Mayr 1993). One of the eliminated competitors was Lamarckism, particularly “mutational Lamarckism”, a hypothesis according to which mutations may be directed towards producing phenotypes that improve the performance of the organism in a particular environment. Contrary to this hypothesis, the Modern Synthesis’ view claims that mutations are “random” (Lenski and Mittler 1993, Merlin 2010). Possibly because Lamarckism had largely felt into disrepute several decades before the eventual success of the Modern Synthesis, the precise meaning of the term “random mutation” was never deeply analyzed. However, current evidence of possibly legitimate cases of Lamarckism (Jablonka and Lamb 2005, Koonin and Wolf 2009) has revitalized the interest for clarifying the meaning of the term “random” in this context (Sarkar 2007, Jablonka and Lamb 2005, Millstein 1997, Merlin 2010). In this contribution we aim to analyze previous definitions of random mutations based on the concepts of statistical independence and correlation (e.g., Millstein 1997, Sarkar 2005, Jablonka and Lamb, Merlin 2010) and to show that they are deficient. We argue that the term “random mutation” refers to a triadic rather than dyadic relationship, that neither correlation nor independence are good concepts to formalize the neo-Darwinian concept of genetic randomness, and that as a consequence neither of them is suitable to define mutational Lamarckism. In this contribution we will illustrate our alternative proposal, show a way to formalize the concept of mutational randomness and provide some examples of its application.

Human Sciences Graduate Conference 2013

Locandina Giornata Dottorandi 20132013: Emanuele Serrelli co-organizes the Second Edition of the Graduate Conference of the Doctorate School of Human Sciences, University of Milano Bicocca (May 24). The conference is organized by PhDs at the Department of Human Sciences. In 2012 Emanuele Serrelli conceived, co-organized, and co-chaired the first edition of this lasting initiative. Check out also the 2014 edition.

Proceedings:

Lazazzara A, Oggionni F, Ornaghi V, Pezzotti A, Serrelli E, eds. (2013). Giornate di dialogo dei dottorandi II edizione – 24 Maggio 2013. Milano : Dipartimento di Scienze Umane per la Formazione “Riccardo Massa” – Università degli Studi di Milano-Bicocca.  [http://hdl.handle.net/10281/46753]

Program on Academia

Organizing committee: Rossana Brambilla, Nicoletta Businaro, Edoardo Datteri, Alessandra Lazazzara, Stefano Malatesta, Andrea Mangiatordi, Francesca Oggionni, Veronica Ornaghi, Antonella Pezzotti, Emanuele Serrelli, Alessia Vitale.

PROGRAMME

10:30 -11:00 – Apertura dei lavori

Saluto della Direttrice del Dipartimento

Prof.ssa Silvia Kanizsa

Introduzione dell’iniziativa

11:00-12:30 – Prima sessione

  • ELENA CADEL: Consumo di carne: una questione di gusti o di apprendimento? Uno studio qualitativo condotto con il metodo della life history
  • CHIARA DEPRÀ: Achievement Emotions: le emozioni degli studenti nella disciplina matematica e nella lingua italiana nei diversi anni scolastici
  • DANIEL DI VIRGILIO: Modelli organizzativi nei sistemi sanitari
  • GRETA PERSICO: Autorità e vita quotidiana: processi di riconoscimento tra gruppi tzigani e istituzioni. I risvolti pedagogici in un’analisi comparativa
  • STEFANIA MOLTENI: Creatività, competenze socio-emotive e disturbi dello spettro autistico

Pausa pranzo

14:00-16:00 – Seconda sessione

  • PIETRO CELO: La letto scrittura nei bambini sordi segnanti: l’ipotesi di una didattica “intramorfica
  • ALESSANDRO FERRANTE: Tracce di pedagogia nell’età della tecnica. La riflessione educativa tra prospettive antropocentriche e postumanesimo
  • MARIAELENA SCOTTI: La lettura ad alta voce come dispositivo pedagogico: l’esperienza dei padri
  • TANIA MORGIGNO: La simbolica della follia nell’operatività artistica
  • LUCA MORINI: Ecologie del gioco: simulazione, partecipazione, evoluzione
  • DANIELE SARTORI: Clinica della formazione: riflessione o sociomaterialismo?

Pausa caffè

16:15-17:45

Gruppi di lavoro e Tavola rotonda

Implicazioni formative delle ricerche presentate

17:45-18:00 – Chiusura dei lavori

Aperitivo sociale

How macro-evolutionary studies call for an extended synthesis

Emanuele Serrelli co-organizes with Nathalie Gontier and moderates the session “How macro-evolutionary studies call for an extended synthesis” at the 2013 AAAS Annual Meeting in Boston, 14-18 February. The session aims to provide an overall evaluation of the scientific importance of macroevolutionary studies, accessible to a large scientific community. It includes a series of international experts, coming from different disciplinary backgrounds (history and philosophy of science, molecular biology and paleontology), allowing for a multi-disciplinary account of macroevolution. It focuses on how macroevolution is defined, proven, studied methodologically, and how their research complements and extends the tenets of the Modern Synthesis.

AAAS SESSION ON HOW MACROEVOLUTIONARY STUDIES CALL FOR AN EXTENDED SYNTHESIS

Organized by Nathalie Gontier and Emanuele Serrelli and Moderated by Emanuele Serrelli

When Eldredge and Gould formulated punctuated equilibria theory, they put several macroevolutionary phenomena on the agenda that were not addressed by the early population geneticists and the founders of the Modern Synthesis. Their theory provides alternative scientific interpretations for the mode and tempo of evolution. Occurring gaps in the fossil record, or the lack of evidence for the existence of intermediate species, are understood as real. And some (living) fossils don’t appear to undergo any significant evolutionary change for millions of years, which necessitates the study of stasis. Acknowledging that evolution can occur faster or slower than predicted by Neodarwinians has consequences for how we define species, and what the levels of evolution are. Macroevolutionary studies provide different species concepts, and argue that evolution can occur at levels higher than the pheno- or genotype. Today, multiple scholars investigate the causes of evolutionary stasis as well as punctuations, macroevolutionary trends, and how evolution occurs at different hierarchies. In recent years, evidence for macroevolution is also provided from within the field of molecular biology, and the pattern of punceq has been proven to be present in neontological and even sociocultural evolutionary phenomena. The session will examine how macroevolutionary studies call for an extension of the Modern Synthesis, and which methodologies and techniques enable the study of macroevolutionary events.

  1. STEPHEN GOULD’S HIERARCHICAL ALTERNATIVE TO NEODARWINISM: A HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE, David Sepkoski, University of North Carolina Wilmington
    THE EVOLUTION OF EVOLUTION: CHANGING DYNAMICS IN MACROEVOLUTION, Douglas H. Erwin, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC
  2. MACROEVOLUTION: ON THE BIRTH, DEATH, AND PERSISTENCE OF SPECIES, Bruce Lieberman, Department of Geology and Biodiversity Institute, University of Kansas
  3. CONTINGENCY AND THE EXPLANATION OF MACROEVOLUTIONARY TRENDS, Derek Turner, Department of Philosophy, Connecticut College
  4. COMPLEXITY AND LIMITS TO CHANGE, Folmer Bokma, IceLab and Department for Ecology & Environmental Science, Umeå University, Sweden
  5. PUNCTUATED EQUILIBRIA: A UNIVERSAL PATTERN IN LIFE AND CULTURE, Nathalie Gontier & Emanuele Serrelli, Applied Evolutionary Epistemology Lab, Centre for Philosophy of Science, University of Lisbon, Portugal. See Punctuated equilibria: a universal pattern in life and culture.

ABSTRACTS:

STEPHEN GOULD’S HIERARCHICAL ALTERNATIVE TO NEODARWINISM: A HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE
David Sepkoski, University of North Carolina Wilmington
This paper will examine the historical significance of Stephen Jay Gould’s hierarchical “expansion” of Darwinism, focusing on the development of these ideas during the late 1970s and early 1980s as part of a larger program to establish “paleobiology” as an autonomous subdiscipline of evolutionary biology. The talk will explore the success of Gould’s program, and the extent to which paleobiology has become oriented around questions of macroevolutionary hierarchy as a result.

THE EVOLUTION OF EVOLUTION: CHANGING DYNAMICS IN MACROEVOLUTION
Douglas H. Erwin Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC
Most conceptions of macroevolution have involved a process that does not vary over time, with differences in the origination of new clades, or higher taxa controlled by ecology. Recent insights from evo-devo suggest a need to revisit this view and explore the non-uniformitarian aspects of macroevolution.

MACROEVOLUTION: ON THE BIRTH, DEATH, AND PERSISTENCE OF SPECIES
Bruce Lieberman Department of Geology and Biodiversity Institute, University of Kansas
My talk will emphasize using the fossil record to study macroevolution in deep time. I will focus on what causes groups of species to radiate and diversity and what causes individual species to change, persist, or go extinct. Further, I will discuss how integrating data from phylogenetics, morphometrics, biogeography, and Geographic Information Systems can be used to tease apart how biotic and abiotic factors interact to cause large-scale evolution.

CONTINGENCY AND THE EXPLANATION OF MACROEVOLUTIONARY TRENDS
Derek Turner
Department of Philosophy, Connecticut College
Once scientists identify a macroevolutionary trend, they typically ask whether it is passive and generated by a random walk, or driven and generated by a directional bias in the state space. My talk will explore the connection between the passive/driven distinction and questions about the contingency of evolutionary history. I will suggest that the historical processes that generate passive trends exhibit greater contingency, whereas those that generate driven trends exhibit less contingency.

COMPLEXITY AND LIMITS TO CHANGE
Folmer Bokma
IceLab and Department for Ecology & Environmental Science, Umeå University, Sweden
Biological organisms are constantly under selection to improve the efficiency with which they function, and a common way to achieve this is via improved organization of its body, that is, complexity. This complexity, however, may make it harder for populations and species to adapt to a changing environment, and it might explain stasis. In my talk I ask whether this is the reason most species go extinct, and to what extent the same principle applies to human organizations.

PUNCTUATED EQUILIBRIA: A UNIVERSAL PATTERN IN LIFE AND CULTURE
Nathalie Gontier & Emanuele Serrelli
Applied Evolutionary Epistemology Lab, Centre for Philosophy of Science, University of Lisbon, Portugal
Punctuated equilibria theory describes a pattern of evolution: long periods of stasis are intermitted by short periods of rapid change. This pattern, first observed in the fossil record, appears to be universal. It has been detected in extant species on a molecular level, in the cultural dispersal of artifacts, and in the historical dispersal of certain language families. We will investigate which mechanisms underlie the pattern of punctuated equilibria in both biological and cultural evolution.

The session, organized with Nathalie Gontier, aims to provide an overall evaluation of the scientific importance of macroevolutionary studies, accessible to a large scientific community. It includes a series of international experts, coming from different disciplinary backgrounds (history and philosophy of science, molecular biology and paleontology), allowing for a multi-disciplinary account of macroevolution. It focuses on how macroevolution is defined, proven, studied methodologically, and how their research complements and extends the tenets of the Modern Synthesis.

Tree and network models in San Francisco

Emanuele Serrelli co-organizes with Nathalie Gontier the session “Tree and network models of micro- and macroevolution” at the 2012 Annual Meeting of the American Anthropological Association (November 14-18, 2012). Developing from phylogenetic methodologies in evolutionary biology, the session examines how cultural trees and networks are composed differently (which data are used to compose trees and networks), what they can and cannot model, how inferences are made, and how they enable theory formation on cultural evolution.

AAA SESSION ON CULTURAL TRANSMISSION STUDIES: TREE AND NETWORK MODELS OF MICRO- AND MACROEVOLUTION, November 15, 8-9:45 AM

Organized by Nathalie Gontier and Emanuele Serrelli and Chaired by Larissa Mendoza Straffon

In biology, phylogenetic tree models (based on shared morphological traits, genes, or proteins) remain the primary methodological tool to reconstruct evolutionary ancestral-descent relationships. Phylogenetic and phylogenomic methodologies are also applied to reconstruct linguistic and cultural descent relationships. Such reconstructions have now advanced up to the point that one can estimate divergence in time, and the rate at which such linguistic or cultural divergence occurred. Both biological as well as sociocultural phylogenetics now demonstrate that besides natural selection, drift and punctuated equilibria theory can explain many of life’s and sociocultural divergences. And comparative analyses demonstrate that ancestral-descent relations of human populations significantly overlap with linguistic family trees and cultural diversification trees. Phylogenetics has also brought to light that horizontal evolution occurs abundantly in life’s evolution, and scholars active in the field have therefore challenged classic tree of life iconography. Today, scholars active in Horizontal Gene Transfer studies are therefore introducing network phylogenies (“webs of life”) that allow the depiction and modeling of reticulate evolution. In the sociocultural sciences, linguists, archeologists and anthropologists have criticized hominin and cultural bifurcating trees because they are unable to depict hominin hybridization and horizontal transmission and diffusion of sociocultural traits. And here too, network models are introduced that allow the formalization and depiction of linguistic and sociocultural interactions through time. In sum, biological and sociocultural sciences both make use of tree and network models to depict biological and sociocultural evolution. We will examine how cultural trees and networks are composed differently (which data are used to compose trees and networks), what they can and cannot model, how inferences are made, and how they enable theory formation on cultural evolution.

  1. THE ‘GLOBAL PHYLOGENY’ AND ITS HISTORY: A CRITICAL APPRAISAL OF A UNIFIEDTHEORY OF HUMAN BIOLOGICAL AND LINGUISTIC CO-EVOLUTION, Frank Kressing, Ulm University
  2. THE CHALLENGE OF TREE-THINKING AND NETWORK-THINKING: CONCEPTUAL ISSUES ACROSS BIOLOGICAL AND CULTURAL DOMAINS, Emanuele Serrelli, University of Milano Bicocca.
  3. COMPARING RATES OF CULTURAL CHANGE ACROSS TREES – DO SOME TRAITS EVOLVE FASTER THAN OTHERS?, Ruth Mace and Tom Currie, London, OXFORDSHIRE
  4. PHYLOGEOGRAPHIC APPROACHES TO TRACING HUMAN CULTURAL ANCESTRY, Quentin Douglas Atkinson, University of Auckland
  5. UNITS, LEVELS AND MECHANISMS OF CULTURAL EVOLUTION, AN APPLIED EVOLUTIONARY EPISTEMOLOGICAL ACCOUNT, Nathalie Gontier, Applied Evolutionary Epistemology Lab, Centre for Philosophy of Science, University of Lisbon
  6. MOSAIC EVOLUTION IN CULTURAL AND BIOLOGICAL FRAMEWORKS: DYNAMICS VARY WITH SCALE, Anna Marie Prentiss and Matthew Joseph Walsh, University of Montana
  7. USING CLADISTICS TO INTERPRET ARCHAEOLOGICAL ASSEMBLAGES: THE SLATE TOOL TRADITION AT BRIDGE RIVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA, Matthew Joseph Walsh and Anna Marie Prentiss, The University of Montana
  8. PLEISTOCENE NETWORK INTERACTIONS AND THE ORIGINS OF VISUAL ART, Larissa Mendoza Straffon, Leiden University
  9. THE ECONOMICS OF CULTURAL TRANSMISSION, Alberto Bisin, New York University

ABSTRACTS

THE ‘GLOBAL PHYLOGENY’ AND ITS HISTORY: A CRITICAL APPRAISAL OF A UNIFIEDTHEORY OF HUMAN BIOLOGICAL AND LINGUISTIC CO-EVOLUTION
Frank Kressing, Ulm University
Starting in the late 20th century, “new” approaches claiming a direct link between the evolution of linguistic and biological diversity in humans received broad attention in the sciences and the general public. Based on an extensive literature review, we claim that, contrary to its supposedly innovative character, the post 1980 ‘new synthesis’ of genetic, linguistic, and archaeological data was based on a well-established western tradition dating back at least until the 18th century. Special emphasis will be put on the importance of interdisciplinary reticulations between scholars in the sciences (such as biology and comparative anatomy) and the humanities (such as linguistics). In our overview, it shall be argued that interdisciplinary contact between these two fields resulted in the construction of links between the classification of languages and the classification of human populations. Furthermore, it shall be stressed that the theory of human biological and linguistic co-evolution was developed in the 18th and 19th century within the framework of anthropology, since this academic discipline evolved as an all-encompassing, integrative science dealing with human nature in its physical and cultural aspects. Finally, 20th-century attempts at the ‘genomization’ of human cultural, ethnic, and linguistic affiliations will be critically analysed, highlighting the fact that theroots of the so-called global phylogeny are ‘once again’ to be found in interdisciplinary scholarly networks transgressing the borders between the sciences and the humanities.

THE CHALLENGE OF TREE-THINKING AND NETWORK-THINKING: CONCEPTUAL ISSUES ACROSS BIOLOGICAL AND CULTURAL DOMAINS
Emanuele Serrelli, University of Milano Bicocca
This talk gives a reflexive outlook on the employment of tree and network thinking to conceptualize and model vertical descent and horizontal transmission of cultural traits. In biology, evolutionary trees are more than tools for researchers across disciplines: they are the main framework within which evidence for evolution is evaluated (Baum et al. 2005). However, several biologists have recognized “tree thinking” as a challenge for students (Gregory 2008, Meisel 2010), lay people (Baum, cit.), and scientists alike (O’Hara 1992), going against our spontaneous cognitive tendencies, e.g., reading along the tips, locating evolution only at nodes, projecting living species backwards to internal nodes. Moreover, common descent, represented by trees, is not the only way in which biological traits are shared: the ubiquity of phenomena like lateral gene transfer is increasing the need for network-based analyses, introducing the conceptual challenge of “network thinking” (Proulx et al. 2005), and the further complexity of conceiving trees and networks together. I focus on which strategies, used and developed in biology, can be implemented in anthropology to address cultural relatedness and common ancestry relationships. Baum DA et al. (2005). The tree-thinking challenge. Science 310(5750):979-980. Gregory TR (2008). Understanding evolutionary trees. Evolution: Education and Outreach 1(2):121-137. Meisel RP (2010). Teaching tree-thinking to undergraduate biology students. Evolution: Education and Outreach 3(4):621-628. O’Hara RJ (1992). Telling the tree: Narrative representation and the study of evolutionary history. Biology and Philosophy 7(2):p.135–160. Proulx SR et al. (2005). Network thinking in ecology and evolution. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 20(6):345-53.

COMPARING RATES OF CULTURAL CHANGE ACROSS TREES – DO SOME TRAITS EVOLVE FASTER THAN OTHERS?
Ruth Mace and Tom Currie, London, OXFORDSHIRE
Ruth Mace and Tom Currie examine the rate of evolution of cultural traits across different phylogenetic trees, to see if cultural traits themselves share any particular properties regarding the rate of change on a tree, or whether traits are simply change according to local ecological conditions or some other factors that are not shared across trees. We use recent phylogenetic methods to estimate rates of change in a range of traits common to most societies.

PHYLOGEOGRAPHIC APPROACHES TO TRACING HUMAN CULTURAL ANCESTRY
Quentin Douglas Atkinson, University of Auckland
Recent work on cultural evolution has successfully applied phylogenetic methods from biology to comparative cultural and linguistic data to test hypotheses about cultural ancestry, chronology and sequences of change. However, relatively little attention has focussed on explicitly modelling large-scale spatial processes of cultural change. Here I report results from collaborative research that uses tools from population genetics and phylogeography to analyze spatial information derived from comparative cultural data. This work identifies clear spatial signal in the data that can be used to shed light on the origins of cultural groups.

UNITS, LEVELS AND MECHANISMS OF CULTURAL EVOLUTION, AN APPLIED EVOLUTIONARY EPISTEMOLOGICAL ACCOUNT
Nathalie Gontier, Applied Evolutionary Epistemology Lab, Centre for Philosophy of Science, University of Lisbon
Tree and network models of cultural micro- and macroevolution demonstrate the current scientific need to recognize that a multiplicity of units, levels and mechanisms underlie the evolution of culture. This demand also necessitates a scientific investigation into how these different sociocultural units, levels and mechanisms alternate and interact hierarchically, and together bring forth the phenomenon of evolution. From within an applied evolutionary epistemological approach, I will talk on how theories on the units (replicators, interactors, culturgenes, memes) and levels of evolution can be implemented into micro- and macroevolutionary sociocultural theories; and which evolutionary mechanisms are best able to explain horizontal and vertical transmission.

MOSAIC EVOLUTION IN CULTURAL AND BIOLOGICAL FRAMEWORKS: DYNAMICS VARY WITH SCALE
Anna Marie Prentiss and Matthew Joseph Walsh, University of Montana
There has been significant debate in paleoanthropology and more recently, archaeology, over the concept of mosaic evolution. Essentially, proponents of the concept argue that different aspects of organisms evolve separately while others argue that organisms evolve as integrated entities. Similarly, archaeologists debate the relevance of cultural evolution as a complex multi-scalar process. In this paper we conduct cladistic and network analyses of cultural phenomena ranging in scale from single artifact classes to more complexly integrated cultural packages to examine variability in the evolutionary process. We argue that cultural evolution is simultaneously multi-scalar and that dynamics can vary significantly with different degrees of integration.

USING CLADISTICS TO INTERPRET ARCHAEOLOGICAL ASSEMBLAGES: THE SLATE TOOL TRADITION AT BRIDGE RIVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA
Matthew Joseph Walsh and Anna Marie Prentiss, The University of Montana
In recent years phylogenetic studies have offered a wide range of contributions to explanation of complex evolutionary phenomena in the archaeological record. In this study we apply cladistic and network methods to assess the evolution of slate tools at the Bridge River site in British Columbia. We examine relationships between artifact assemblages from several housepits at the site in order to determine if heritable continuity can be established on an inter- and intra-household basis. This allows us to examine variability in the role of descent with modification manifested in branching versus a range of potential tokogenetic processes. We argue that while distinct household-specific traditions of tool manufacture existed, the data are made complicated by extensive borrowing of ideas and functional differentiation in tool design.

PLEISTOCENE NETWORK INTERACTIONS AND THE ORIGINS OF VISUAL ART
Larissa Mendoza Straffon, Leiden University
In recent years scholars have come to the realisation that models which account for the emergence of behavioural traits, such as visual art, simply in terms of increasing human cognition are not viable. The so-called cognitive models cannot generate falsifiable predictions about the conditions under which such traits would have developed. Equally problematic are evolutionary scenarios of art that put forward some possible adaptive function as cause of its origin (e.g. visual art evolved for mate choice, for ritual, etc.). When contrasted against current evidence from the archaeological record, these postulates generally do not hold. This paper presents an hypothesis for the origins of visual art which incorporates up-to-date archaeological data into a testable evolutionary explanation. This model is based upon specific aspects of Pleistocene human groups, such as group size and social organisation. It is suggested that visual art arose as a signal of identity and an index of reputation under selective pressures towards increasing cooperation and intensified network interactions in the Late Pleistocene. Recognition through style in visual art would have conveyed adaptive benefits by making social interactions more predictable thus reducing risks of conflict and aggression, in turn allowing large-scale reciprocity systems to flourish. In this sense, visual art may be conceived of as a communication signal manifested in stylistic variation in material culture. Finally, the paper shows that this hypothesis is consistent with the archaeological record of visual art.

THE ECONOMICS OF CULTURAL TRANSMISSION
Alberto Bisin, New York University
This paper surveys the recent theoretical and empirical studies on the economics of cultural transmission. The aim of the survey is to emphasize both similarities and differences in the economic analysis of this topic with respect to the literatures in evolutionary biology, anthropology, and sociology.

Human Sciences Graduate Conference 2012

Giornate_di_Dialogo_dei_Dottorandi_4-5_giugno_20122012: Emanuele Serrelli conceives, co-organizes, and co-chairs the first edition of the Graduate Conference of the Doctorate School of Human Sciences, University of Milano Bicocca (June 4-5). The conference is organized by PhDs at the Department of Human Sciences.

Organizing committee: Rossana Brambilla (education), Nicoletta Businaro (psychology), Edoardo Datteri (philosophy), Stefano Malatesta (geography), Andrea Mangiatordi (media education), Veronica Ornaghi (psychology), Emanuele Serrelli (philosophy), Alessia Vitale (education).

Check out two other editions: 2013, 2014.

PROGRAMME (also on Academia.edu)

Lunedì 4 GIUGNO

9:30-9:45 – Apertura dei lavori

Introducono l’iniziativa Rossana Brambilla, Nicoletta Businaro, Edoardo Datteri, Emanuele Serrelli

9:45-11:15 – Prima sessione

Chair: Nicoletta Businaro

BECHELLI, C. – La matematica incompresa tra immagini e narrazioni.

CADEL, E. – Il problema del consumo di carne. Studio degli atteggiamenti, dell’identità e delle norme.

DIANA, B. – Disordine ambientale e stereotipi: uno studio sperimentale.

JORIO, F. – Uno sguardo (d)ai film. Narrazioni e identità nella formazione mediata dal cinema.

Breve pausa

11:30-13:00 – Seconda sessione

Chair: Veronica Ornaghi

DAKDUKI, J. – Il benessere (burn out / stress lavoro correlato) di insegnanti arabo-israeliani. Possibile confronto con gli insegnanti palestinesi dei Territori (West Bank, Gaza). Una ricerca quali-quantitativa.

GALIMBERTI, A. – Studenti non tradizionali in università.

GAMBACORTI PASSERINI, M.B. – La scrittura di sé come possibile strumento formativo e di supporto alla professione.

NEVOLA, L. – “Il sangue è un cospiratore”: gerarchia, discendenza e divisione del lavoro nel nord dello Yemen.

13:00-14.30 – Pausa pranzo

14:30-16:30 – Terza sessione

Chair: Edoardo Datteri

SARTORI, D. – Riccardo Massa e gli approccio socio-materialisti in pedagogia.

MESCOLI, E. – Tra ricette del sé e ricette dell’altro. Etnografia di pratiche culinarie marocchine in Italia.

DE BERNARDI, M. – L’epistemologia evoluzionistica.

FERRANTE, A. – Pedagogia e ibridazione. Le condizioni dell’esperienza educativa nell’età della tecnica.

MORINI, L. – Ecologia del gioco. Interazione, simulazione, evoluzione.

Martedì 5 GIUGNO

10:30-11:00Ripresa dei lavori

Presentazione DOCEBO

Andrea Mangiatordi, Alessia Vitale

11:00-13:00 – Quarta sessione

Chair: Emanuele Serrelli

MORGANDI, T. – Esperienze di conoscenza dei bambini nei Centri per Bambini e genitori/Famiglie.

BRAMBILLA, L. – L’educazione informale di genere nelle interpretazioni delle adolescenti. Strumenti di ricerca e percorsi educativi.

ROSSI, A. – Corpi del dis-senso e Hogra migrante. Etnografia multilocale della violenza tra giovani migranti marocchini e tunisini nelle contemporanee forme di sofferenza sociale e attivismo locale.

SANTANERA, G. – Nollywood diventa francofono. Il caso dei giovani spettatori camerunesi.

SCHEK, E.J. – Lo sviluppo delle competenze emotive negli adolescenti.

Pausa pranzo

14:30-16:45 – Quinta sessione

Chair: Stefano Malatesta

CAVALERA, C. – Colpa e vergogna: individuazione di pattern di comportamento non verbale e performance cognitiva. Confronto fra un campione normativo e con DCA.

MOLTENI, S. – Creatività e autismo.

PRATI, M. – La carriera morale del cittadino “in via di sviluppo”. La costruzione sociale del senso di inferiorità in Uganda.

BERTOLASI, E. – La questione identitaria ucraina, continuità e distacco con la Russia.

DEPRA’, C. – Achievement emotions: le emozioni in matematica e in italiano.

PALLAVICINI, F.M. – Effetti dello stress incidentale sulla capacità decisionale.

16:45-17:00 – Chiusura dei lavori

Stefano Malatesta

Voglia di Evoluzione Series

In academic year 2011-2012 Emanuele Serrelli is advisor and chair of the conference series “Voglia di evoluzione” organized by student representatives in the Department of Biology, University of Milan. The series aims to deepen some “hot” topics in contemporary evolutionary biology (EvoDevo, phenotypic plasticity, epigenetics) that are nonetheless rarely explained in normal biology curricula. Authoritative researchers are invited to present their researches and discuss with students. An original aspect is the coupling of animal and plant models, usually confined to being examples of either one or the other phenomenon.

PROGRAMME:

  • Evo-Devo, or evolutionary developmental biology, has been presented by Dott. Giuseppe Fusco and Prof. Alessandro Minelli (Università degli Studi di Padova) and Dott. Fabio Fornara dell’Università degli Studi di Milano (November 23, 2011). Video available on Youtube.
  • Phenotypic plasticity, or the property of a genotype to give rise to different phenotypes in varying environmental conditions, has been exposed by Dott. Walter Salzburger (University of Basilea) and Dott. Marco Caccianiga (Università degli Studi di Milano) (January 26, 2012). Video available on Youtube.
  • Epigenetics or “weak inheritance” (or, the heritability of phenotypic modifications) has been presented by Prof. Marcello Buiatti (Università degli Studi di Firenze) (April 17, 2012).

The series ended with a roundtable with Prof. Marco Ferraguti (Università degli Studi di Milano), Prof.ssa Eva Jablonka (University of Tel Aviv) and Prof. Telmo Pievani (Università degli Studi Milano-Bicocca) (May 17, 2012) on “Evolution in 4 dimensions” and the extension of the Modern Synthesis. Article and video on Pikaia.

View on Academia.

“Forest Skill” Online Evaluation Panel

2011-2012: I sit in the “Online Evaluation Panel” of the call for solutions “Forest Skill – Developing competences and know-how to create new job opportunities through the intelligent usage of Italian wood heritage”, organized by Fondazione Italiana Accenture and Fondazione Collegio delle Università Milanesi, with the scientific collaboration of Università degli Studi di Milano Bicocca, Università degli Studi di Milano and the communicational partnership of FederlegnoArredo and Fondazione UniVerde.

Hierarchy Theory in Salt Lake City

In 2010 Emanuele Serrelli co-organized the session “Hierarchy Theory of Evolution” inviting Niles Eldredge and 10 other scholars on Hierarchy Theory at the International Society for the History, Philosophy, and Social Studies of Biology Sunday, July 10, 2011 ‐ Friday, July 15, 2011, University of Utah Salt Lake City, Utah United States. Hierarchy Theory assumes that the evolutionary disciplines have an ontological basis for their existence, i.e. systems with peculiar spatiotemporal dimensions, origins, histories, demises, and internal dynamics leading to stability and change through time. The theory is developing around Eldredge’s recognition of at least two main distinct evolutionary hierarchies – the genealogical and the ecological – and around a general vision of evolution as a process of interactions at various scales. E.g., macro-evolutionary patterns are explained by a “sloshing bucket” model, where ecological events reverberate in the evolutionary hierarchy.

MORNING SESSION 1:

  • BROOKS, Dan – Metaphors for the Extended Synthesis: Something Old, Something New.
  • CAIANIELLO, Silvia – Modularity and Hierarchy Theory.
  • CAPORAEL, Linnda – Grounding Human Social Cognition in Hierarchical Group Structure.

MORNING SESSION 2:

  • DIETL, Gregory – Toward a Unified Ecology in Macroevolution.
  • ELDREDGE, Niles – A Matter of Individuality: Hierarchy Theory at the Dawn of Evolutionary Biology.
  • MILLER, William – Macroevolutionary Consonance and expansion of the Modern Synthesis.

AFTERNOON SESSION:

See full session abstracts on Academia.