Evolution, Gender, and Rape

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Cheryl Brown Travis
MIT Press, 2003 - Psychology - 454 pages

Multidisciplinary critiques of the notion of rape as an evolutionary adaptation.

Are women and men biologically destined to be in perpetual conflict? Does evolutionary genetics adequately explain sexual aggression? Such questions have been much debated in both the media and academia. In particular, the notion that rape is an evolutionary adaptation, put forth by Randy Thornhill and Craig T. Palmer in their book A Natural History of Rape (MIT Press, 2000), vaulted the debate into national prominence. This book assesses Thornhill and Palmer's ideas, as well as the critical responses to their work. Drawing on theory and data from anthropology, behavioral ecology, evolutionary biology, primatology, psychology, and sociology, the essays explain the flaws and limitations of a strictly biological model of rape. They argue that traditionally stereotyped gender roles are grounded more in culture than in differing biological reproductive roles.The book is divided into three parts.

The first part, "Evolutionary Models and Gender," addresses broad theoretical and methodological issues of evolutionary theory and sociobiology. Part 2, "Critiquing Evolutionary Models of Rape," addresses specific propositions of Thornhill and Palmer, making explicit their unexamined assumptions and challenging the scientific bases for their conclusions. It also considers other studies on biological gender differences. Part 3, "Integrative Cultural Models of Gender and Rape," offers alternative models of rape, which incorporate psychology and cultural systems, as well as a broader interpretation of evolutionary theory.

 

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Evolution, gender, and rape

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The theory of evolutionary psychology, which makes some unapologetic, politically incorrect assertions about human sexuality, has been taking a beating in both the popular and the scholarly press. In ... Read full review

Contents

Talking Evolution and Selling Difference
3
Female Sexuality and the Myth of Male Control
29
Power Asymmetries between the Sexes Mate Preferences and Components of Fitness
61
Does SelfReport Make Sense as an Investigative Method in Evolutionary Psychology?
87
Understanding Rape
105
Pop Sociobiology Reborn The Evolutionary Psychology of Sex and Violence
139
Critiquing Evolutionary Models of Rape
169
Of Vice and Men A Case Study in Evolutionary Psychology
171
Violence against Science Rape and Evolution
235
Integrative and Cultural Models of Gender and Rape
263
The Origins of Sex Differences in Human Behavior Evolved Dispositions versus Social Roles
265
The Evolutionary Value of the Man to Child Affiliative Bond Closer to Obligate Than to Facultative
305
RapeFree versus RapeProne How Culture Makes a Difference
337
What Is Rape?Toward a Historical Ethnographic Approach
363
Understanding Rape A Metatheoretical Framework
383
Coming Full Circle Refuting Biological Determinism
413

Evolutionary Models of Why Men Rape Acknowledging the Complexities
191
Theory and Data on Rape and Evolution
207
An Unnatural History of Rape
221

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About the author (2003)

Cheryl Brown Travis is Professor of Psychology and Chair of Women's Studies at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

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