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Early Chinese Literacy: Asking Tinbergen's Four Questions

November 17, 2008 - 12:00pm
Okimoto Room, Encina Hall East, 3rd Floor
CHINA BROWN BAG SERIES PRESENTS: Nikolaas Tinbergen suggested four questions that need to be asked whenever we are puzzled by a particular form of animal behavior. What is its function? How does it reflect its evolutionary precursors? How is it shaped by the mechanisms (biochemical, neurological, muscular, etc.) it uses? And how does the behavior develop in individuals over their lifetime? The emergence of literacy is, along with the beginnings of agriculture and the growth of social complexity, one of the most remarkable and consequential behavioral changes that our species has undergone. Exceeded in time-depth and complexity only by the ancient Near East, China has a rich archaeological record of literate behavior. When we apply Tinbergen's questions to human literacy, what answers does this Chinese evidence offer?
Free and Open to the Public
Event Sponsor: 
Center for East Asian Studies
Contact Email: 
hlee17@stanford.edu
Contact Phone: 
723-3363