UAB Names New Chair of Anthropology

Doug Fry, PhD, has been named chair of the University of Alabama at Birmingham Department of Anthropology. He comes to UAB from Åbo Akademi University in Vasa, Finland, where he was the Director of the Peace, Mediation, and Conflict Research joint master’s program.


Doug Fry. Dr. Fry brings with him extensive administrative experience, as well as significant scholarship and research and a long list of publications — both leading journals and single-author books. Additionally, he is a highly regarded instructor and received the teaching excellence award from Åbo Akademi University.

Dr. Fry received his BA from the University of California, Santa Barbara, in anthropology and psychology in 1976, and an MA and PhD in anthropology from Indiana University in 1981 and 1986, respectively. His focus is conflict management as seen from an anthropological perspective. An NSF grant allowed him to produce “A Cross-Cultural Study of Conflict Prevention, Resolution and Reconciliation” from 2003-2006. One of his current interests involves researching the creation and maintenance of anthropological “peace systems” — clusters of neighboring societies that do not make war with one another. Recently, Dr. Fry has had two articles published in Science: one dealing with peace systems and the other entitled “Lethal Aggression in Mobile Forager Bands and the Implications for the Origins of War.”

His longtime focus on peace and justice studies has been the source of several important books. The Human Potential for Peace: An Anthropological Challenge to Assumptions about War and Violence (Oxford University Press, 2006) and Beyond War: The Human Potential for Peace (Oxford University Press, 2007) received significant academic and public recognition and have become key texts in university courses worldwide. Beyond War also generated a feature article in Discover magazine. Keeping the Peace: Conflict Resolution in Peaceful Societies Around the World (Routledge, 2004) examines how peaceful societies can offer important lessons to those seeking to avoid conflict. More recently, War, Peace, and Human Nature (Oxford University Press, 2013) features contributions from renowned scholars including Frans De Waal, Robert Sapolsky, Dave Grossman, and David P. Barash, among others.

Dr. Fry is a member of the American Anthropological Association, the International Society for Research on Aggression, the Society of the Sigma Xi (Scientific Research Association), and the Peace and Justice Studies Association. He is Co-Editor-in-Chief of The Journal of Aggression and Conflict and Peace Research, and is on the editorial board of The Journal of Moral Education.