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October 2001

Release Date: October 15, 2001

Graduate School, College of Sciences Enrollment Up at ASU

The 2001 Angelo State University Symposium on American Values Oct. 29-30 will examine the theme "Violence in America: A Crisis of Values" from the viewpoints of two scholars recognized nationally for their work exploring the causes of violence.

Dr. David Barash is professor of psychology at the University of Washington and author of Understanding Violence. Dr. Roy F. Baumeister, author of Evil: Inside Violence and Cruelty, holds the Elsie B. Smith Chair in the Liberal and Fine Arts at Case Western Reserve University. Baumeister is currently on sabbatical at the Stanford University Center for Advanced Research in the Behavioral Sciences.

Barash will speak on "Violence as an Evolutionary Hangover" at 1:45 p.m. Monday, Oct. 29. Baumeister will talk on "Why People Perform Evil, Violent Acts" at 9:45 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 30. Both presentations will be in the C.J. "Red" Davidson Conference Center of the Houston Harte University Center on the ASU campus. The talks are open free to the public.

Barash, whose most recent book Revolutionary Biology examines "the new, gene-centered view of life," approaches the problem of violence as a specialist in animal behavior. Viewing human beings as the unique product of both biological and cultural evolution, he explores the breach between our evolutionary tendencies toward ferocity as a means of survival and the cultural institutions and codes that should check and control primitive violence. His research sheds light on the prevalence of violence as both a cultural and interpersonal phenomenon, affecting matters of war and peace no less than individual behaviors.

Baumeister=s intriguing and original research poses the fundamental question "Why is there evil?" His work probes the psychological factors that cause "normal" people to commit violent and cruel acts. Integrating research from the disciplines of psychology, criminology, sociology, anthropology, history, and other fields, he provides insight into the roots of cruelty and violence. His research examines our culture=s myths about evil, violence, revenge and guilt and casts new light on the age-old problem of evil and its deeply embedded expression in American society.

The purpose of the University Symposium on American Values is to enrich the academic environment at Angelo State University by bringing outstanding scholars to the campus for a program of lectures and discussions to benefit students and to provide intellectual opportunities for the community.

Barash is founder and co-director of the Program in Peace and Strategic Studies at the University of Washington, where he also holds joint professorships in the Departments of Psychology and Zoology. A specialist in sociobiology, animal behavior and evolution, he has published 18 books, including Understanding Violence, Revolutionary Biology: the New, Gene-Centered View of Life, The Mammal in the Mirror and Ideas of Human Nature. Forthcoming books include Economics as an Evolutionary Science and Games of Life: The Logic of Interaction.

He is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University. He has won awards from the National Science Foundation and National Institute of Mental Health. Through the Rockefeller Foundation, he was scholar-in-residence at the Villa Serbolloni Study and Conference Center in Italy.

Baumeister is a specialist in social psychology, a broad field that studies the thoughts, feelings and behaviors of ordinary people. Baumeister's research has addressed such topics as self-esteem, self-control, performance under pressure, reactions in emergencies, guilt, sexuality, emotion, decision-making, taking risks and trying to make a good impression. His research is currently funded by the National Institute of Mental Health. He has also received fellowships or grants from the Humboldt Foundation, the Cattell Foundation, Battelle, the National Science Foundation and the American Society for Engineering Education.

Baumeister has more than 230 publications, including 10 books. His most recent book, Evil: Inside Human Violence and Cruelty, draws on an interdisciplinary information base to address the age-old psychological questions about why ordinary people come to perform evil acts.

Members of the University Symposium on American Values Committee are: Dr. Chris Ellery, chair; Dr. Shirley Eoff, chair; Dr. Nancy Allen; Dr. Tom Badgett; Dr. David Bell; Dr. David Bixler; Dr. Tony Dutton; Dr. Charles Endress; Rick Greig; Dr. E. James Holland; Dr. Lawrence Jones; Dr. Pamela Lee; Dr. David Marsh; Dr. William McKinney; Dr. William Montgomery; Dr. Robert Prestiano; Dr. Kenneth Stewart; Dr. Patricia Turner; Dr. Earl Yarbrough; and Dr. Roger Zarnowski.

For additional information on the symposium, please contact Chris Ellery at 942-2273, ext. 228.