Upcoming Event
  • Father Time

    by Sarah Blaffer Hrdy
    Price $29.95
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    Father Time

Sarah Blaffer Hrdy at Harvard Book Store


Father Time:
A Natural History
of Men and Babies 

in conversation with CHELSEA CONABOY


May 28, 2024
7:00 PM ET


Harvard Book Store
1256 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138


This event is free; no tickets are required.

Harvard Book Store welcomes SARAH BLAFFER HRDY—award-winning anthropologist and primatologist and author of Mothers and Others—for a discussion of her new book Father Time: A Natural History of Men and Babies. She will be joined in conversation by CHELSEA CONABOY—health and science journalist and author of Mother Brain: How Neuroscience Is Rewriting the Story of Parenthood.

About Father Time

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.

Praise for Father Time

“I remain fascinated by the possibilities of the evolution of the genus Homo so Sarah Hrdy’s Father Time clarified much for me. Our ancestors couldn’t have survived the Pleistocene without alloparenting, with fathers and other men helping to care for and provision young.” —Francis Ford Coppola

“Sarah Hrdy gives us a fascinating, compellingly readable account of the new science that has revealed the deep potential for nurturance in fathers. The book is both a personal, immensely important and gripping story, and a masterly summary of equally compelling and important scientific research.” —Alison Gopnik, author of The Gardener and the Carpenter

“Who better than Sarah Hrdy, known for her studies of motherhood, to delve into fatherhood. Men caring for babies or young children can be as tender and competent as women. Doing so transforms their brains to be more like the maternal brain. Hrdy’s timely point is that attempts to balance gender roles in the family by no means go against human nature.” —Frans de Waal, author of Different: Gender Through the Eyes of a Primatologist

Masking Policy

Masks are encouraged but not required for this event.

Chelsea Conaboy
Chelsea Conaboy

Chelsea Conaboy

Chelsea Conaboy is a health and science journalist whose work has been published by The New York Times, The Boston Globe, WBUR, The Guardian, Mother Jones, Politico, The Philadelphia Inquirer and elsewhere. Her first book, Mother Brain: How Neuroscience Is Rewriting the Story of Parenthood, has been called "a game-changer" and is set to be published in 20 countries. She lives in Maine with her husband, their two children, and her own changing parental brain.

Sarah Blaffer Hrdy
Sarah Blaffer Hrdy

Sarah Blaffer Hrdy

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.

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