Erika Milam talks about the scientific search for human nature, a project that captured the attention of paleontologists, anthropologists, and primatologists in the years after World War II. Milam is a professor of history at Princeton University. She is the author of Creatures of Cain: The Hunt for Human Nature in Cold War America (Princeton University Press, 2019).
After World War II, the question of how to define a universal human nature took on new urgency. Creatures of Cain charts the rise and precipitous fall in Cold War America of a theory that attributed man’s evolutionary success to his unique capacity for murder.
Michael F. Robinson is professor of history at Hillyer College, University of Hartford. He's the author of The Coldest Crucible: Arctic Exploration and American Culture (University of Chicago Press, 2006) and The Lost White Tribe: Scientists, Explorers, and the Theory that Changed a Continent (Oxford University Press, 2016). He's also the host of the podcast Time to Eat the Dogs, a weekly podcast about science, history, and exploration.