Notre Dame anthropologist elected to American Academy of Arts and Sciences

Author: Josh Weinhold

Agustín Fuentes
Agustín Fuentes

Agustín Fuentes, the Rev. Edmund P. Joyce, C.S.C. Chair in Anthropology, has been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, one of the nation’s oldest learned societies and independent policy research centers. 

He is among more than 250 members of the 240th AAAS class, which includes singer-songwriter Joan Baez, former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, and filmmaker Richard Linklater.

A prominent figure in the field of anthropology and a National Geographic explorer, Fuentes’ research interests include the roles of creativity and imagination in human evolution, multispecies anthropology, evolutionary theory, and the structures of race and racism. 

Since its founding during the American Revolution by John Adams, James Bowdoin, John Hancock, and other scholar-patriots, the academy has elected leading “thinkers and doers” from each generation, including George Washington and Benjamin Franklin in the 18th century, Daniel Webster and Ralph Waldo Emerson in the 19th, and Albert Einstein and Winston Churchill in the 20th.

Fuentes joins 27 other AAAS fellows from Notre Dame, 25 of whom are also affiliated with the College of Arts and Letters. Recent elections include Declan Kiberd, the Donald and Marilyn Keough Professor of Irish Studies; Dianne Pinderhuges, chair of the Department of Africana Studies and a professor in the Department of Political Science; Notre Dame President Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C.; R. Scott Appleby, the Marilyn Keough Dean of the Keough School of Global Affairs; and Robert Audi, the John A. O’Brien Professor of Philosophy.

Fuentes’ books include Why We Believe, which examines how religion became an essential aspect of human evolution; The Creative Spark, which argues that creativity and collaboration are the most important explanations for why humans are the way they are; Evolution of Human Behavior, which focuses on how and why humans evolved behaviorally; and Health, Risk, and Adversity, which provides a comparative approach to the analysis of health disparities and human adaptability and examines the pathways that lead to unequal health outcomes.

Fuentes was named a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2011 and has served as chair of the association’s anthropology section committee. He is a fellow of the Liu Institute for Asia and Asian Studies, Institute for Latino Studies, the Kroc Institute for Peace Studies, and the John J. Reilly Center for Science, Technology, and Values.