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SAPIENS: A Podcast for Everything Human

Nov 19, 2019

Until very recently, Colin Turnbull was the only anthropologist who had lived and studied with both the Mbuti people of the Congo region and the Ik of Uganda. Because of his writings, one community became known for its egalitarianism and the other for its selfishness. His observations of the Ik in particular, as “inhuman” and “inhospitable,” led to them being dubbed as “the loveless people.” Then in 2009, Cathryn Townsend earned the chance to live with the Ik to study to generosity. In this episode, she shares her insights on what she found, and what Turnbull may have gotten wrong.

To learn more about Cathryn Townsend's work, follow her on Twitter @CathrynTownsend. This episode is inspired by the article “Is a More Generous Society Possible?” Learn more about the Human Generosity Project, of which Cathryn is a part.

SAPIENS: A Podcast for Everything Human is a part of the American Anthropological Association Podcast Library.

Music for this episode includes:

  • “Hello World,” “Who Were These People,” “Malaria,” “In Transit” by Matthew Simonson.
  • “As I Was Saying,” “Curiosity,” “Quizitive,” Reflections,” All I have Left Are These Photographs” by Lee Rosevere
  • “Silver Flame” by Kevin Macleod
  • “Walking Bells” by Studio D