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The University of Alabama

UA’s Darwin Day Evolves to a Three-Day Regional Conference

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Darwin Day, an annual event hosted by The University of Alabama’s Evolutionary Studies Club, has evolved into the Southeastern Evolutionary Perspectives Society, or SEEPS, conference, which will be held Feb. 12–14 in room 227 of Lloyd Hall on the UA campus.

The conference will have interdisciplinary speakers, a banquet and a keynote lecture given by evolutionary anthropologist Dr. Dean Falk, the Hale G. Smith Professor of Anthropology at Florida State University.

Admission is $20 for undergraduates and $50 for graduate students and professionals. Students in grades K-12 will be admitted for free.

Dr. Christopher Lynn, an associate professor of anthropology at UA, directs the evolutionary studies program and helped coordinate the event. According to Lynn, the conference is an opportunity to generate discussion, promote evolutionary perspectives to students, help teachers who may be struggling to teach it, and bring public visibility to the topic.

“We want students to feel less threatened by evolution as a process and perceive it as a lens to better understand life,” Lynn said.

The keynote lecture for the conference will be presented Feb. 12 at 7 p.m. Falk’s talk, “The Evolution of Asperger Syndrome: A Cross-disciplinary Perspective,” will focus on the evolution of Asperger’s, discussing its lesser-known genetic benefit.

Falk teaches part-time in Tallahassee, Florida, and part-time in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where she is a senior scholar at the School for Advanced Research. She has written books on the evolution of language, specifically how mothers talk to their children and brain evolution.

Lynn said he is excited to have such a strong female scientist speak at the conference.

“I like that she steps away from the conservative biological or anthropological model and addresses the really big questions,” he said.

Approximately 63 speakers are registered from across the Southeast. Alongside presentations by university and professional scholars, the agenda includes presentations by an Alabama high-school teacher and high-school students.

“We’re trying to appeal to the lack of institutionalized support for evolution studies,” Lynn said. “We’re trying to develop a hub where we can say, ‘Your community may not support it, but we do.’”

Registration closes Feb. 9. For more information or to register, visit seeps2016.weebly.com.

The Evolutionary Studies Club is part of UA’s College of Arts and Sciences, the University’s largest division and the largest liberal arts college in the state. Students from the College have won numerous national awards including Rhodes and Goldwater scholarships.

The University of Alabama, a student-centered research university, is experiencing significant growth in both enrollment and academic quality. This growth, which is positively impacting the campus and the state's economy, is in keeping with UA's vision to be the university of choice for the best and brightest students. UA, the state's flagship university, is an academic community united in its commitment to enhancing the quality of life for all Alabamians.

  • CONTACT: Courtney Corbridge, communications specialist, College of Arts and Sciences, 205/348-8539, courtney.a.corbridge@ua.edu; UA media relations, 205/348-5320
  • SOURCE: Dr. Christopher Lynn, associate professor of anthropology, cdlynn@ua.edu