The Goodwin-Niering Center hosts various lectures throughout the year, sponsored by various funds and lectureships, and addressing a diverse array of topics.

Upcoming Lecture

Award Poster

Sponsored by the Linda Lear Lectures Series, we're excited to announce that Christopher Krupenye '11, is the recipient of the Goodwin-Niering Center for the Environment 2019 Alumni Environmental Achievement Award! This award recognizes and celebrates Connecticut College alumni who have made significant contributions in any area of environmental endeavor, including research, education, land preservation, conservation, communications and activism. Christopher is the first recipient of the award to also be a Goodwin-Niering Center scholar.

Following the award presentation, Krupenye will give a lecture on The Social Minds of Humans and Other Apes. This exciting lecture, (including a question & answer forum) is free and open to the public. A reception will be held immediately following the lecture.


Humans have evolved a remarkable suite of cognitive abilities for navigating the social worldWe track others’ social relationships, evaluate others based on their behavior or identity, and even attempt to infer their thoughts and emotions. That our potential social partners possess these skills, too, is precisely what makes the social world so complex. In turn, we must manage our reputations and relationships, adhere to the norms of our group, and strategically navigate manifold cooperative and competitive interactions. Do humans’ closest phylogenetic relatives, chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) and bonobos (Pan paniscus), see the world in much the same way? To which features of the human mind do we owe our unrivaled social complexity? In this talk, Krupenye will investigate the extent to which humans' closest relatives share the defining features of the human social mind, and the processes by which such traits may have evolved. Great apes are richly clever and they offer a unique window into the evolutionary origins of our species. In concluding, he will discuss the various human activities that threaten their extinction.

Christopher Krupenye is an evolutionary anthropologist and cognitive scientist who studies how animals think and what makes the human mind unique. He is particularly interested in clarifying how humans' closest relatives, the great apes, see and understand the social world -- and in reconstructing the evolutionary history of human social intelligence. Chris graduated from Connecticut College in 2011 with a BA in Biology, a minor in French, and a certificate from the Goodwin-Niering Center for the Environment. He completed his PhD in Evolutionary Anthropology at Duke University in 2016 and has since worked as a postdoctoral scholar and research fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology (Germany) and the University of St Andrews (Scotland).