Douglas P. Fry, Ph.D.

Professor and Department Chair

Doug Fry.
1401 University Blvd
HHB 321
Birmingham, AL 35294-1152

(205) 934-3508

Professor Douglas P. Fry chairs the Anthropology Department and also holds an affiliation as Docent at Åbo Akademi University in Vasa, Finland. Doug Fry is a passionate teacher, having won a teaching excellence award in 2005, and is known by his students for weaving anecdotes and human interest tidbits into his lectures and writings on war and peace. One of his current interests involves researching anthropological “peace systems” — clusters of neighboring societies that do not make war with one another.

Doug Fry has written extensively on aggression, conflict, and conflict resolution for journals such as American Anthropologist, Bulletin of Peace Proposals, Journal of Aggression, Conflict, and Peace Research, Science, and Sex Roles. He regularly lectures on peacemaking in the USA and abroad. Fry believes that anthropology holds important current-day lessons: “The macroscopic perspective of anthropology, with its expansive time frame and culturally comparative orientation, provides unique insights into the nature of war and holds some concrete lessons for how to develop a more safe and peaceful world.” A recent essay published in Peace News elaborates on this theme.

Fry’s ability to make complex topics interesting and to explore the serious subjects of war and peace with a blend of realism and hopefulness has received praise from luminaries such as Jeffrey "End of Poverty" Sachs, Frans "Age of Empathy" de Waal, and Robert "A Primate's Memoir" Sapolsky. In 2013, Fry and Patrik Söderberg reported in Science that, contrary to typical assumptions, nomadic foragers rarely engage in war. Fry’s most recent edited book is titled War, Peace and Human Nature (Oxford, 2013) and contains 27 chapters by leaders in the fields of biology, primatology, forager studies, peace studies, psychology, and social cultural anthropology.

Ph.D., Anthropology, Indiana University
M.A., Anthropology, Indiana University
B.A., Anthropology and Psychology, University of California, Santa Barbara

Research Interests:
Peace & Conflict Resolution; Nonviolence; Human Rights; Peacemaking Processes; Aggression, Violence, & War; Applied Anthropology.


Teaching Award:
2005 recipient of the Åbo Akademi University’s Harry Elvings Teaching Excellence Award

Selected Courses:
  • Conflict Resolution from a Cross-Cultural Perspective
  • The Power of Nonviolence
  • Negotiation & Mediation
  • Peaceful Societies & Peace Systems
  • Advanced Peace Studies
  • Development Anthropology
  • Research Methods