Laura Betzig studies despotism and democracy in history. She's looked at
the cross cultural record; done fieldwork in Micronesia on Ifaluk and Yap;
and read ancient, medieval, and modern history. She's published many scientific
and scholarly articles, and three books: Despotism
and Differential Reproduction: A Darwinian View of History; Human
Reproductive Behavior: A Darwinian Perspective; and Human Nature:
A Critical Reader. She's spent the last 10 years working on a history
of the West.
Betzig has a B.A. from the University of Michigan in psychology,
and a Ph.D. in anthropology from Northwestern University. She's held research
and teaching positions at Northwestern, the University of California and
the University of Michigan in anthropology, psychology and zoology; and
has lectured in departments of anthropology, biology, economics, philosophy,
psychology and medieval history. She's done TV for Peter Jennings' ABC
News Tonight, the Discovery Channel, the Learning Channel, Britain's Channel
4, and KRO Information TV in the Netherlands. Her work has been written
up in newspapers and magazines like Time,
The Economist, The Washington Post, New Scientist, Smithsonian, Slate, Discover and Worth; and she blogs on "The Political Animal: Human History as Natural History" for Psychology Today.
Laura's daughter Alexa, MIT '07, Harvard '11, develops targeted cancer therapies at a Cambridge biotech; her son Max, Carnegie Mellon '11, who led his soccer team to consecutive NCAA tournament berths, works in a DC bank. She and her husband, the MD and anthropologist Paul Turke, live together near Ann Arbor, on Strawberry Lake.