Douglas P. Fry. Professor; Department Chair
321 Heritage Hall (HHB)
(205) 934-3508

Research and Teaching Interests: Anthropology of war and peace, conflict resolution, nonviolence, human rights

Office Hours: By appointment

  • BA, University of California at Santa Barbara, Psychology and Anthropology
  • MA, Indiana University, Bloomington, Anthropology
  • PhD, Indiana University, Bloomington, Anthropology

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

Fry regularly lectures on peacemaking in the United States and abroad. He 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 Sachs, Frans de Waal, and Robert Sapolsky. Central to Fry’s work is the question: How can we assure human rights and develop ways to deal with conflicts without violence?

Douglas Fry CV

  • Geneviève Souillac and Douglas P. Fry, "The Human Quest for Peace, Rights, and Justice: Convergence of the Traditional and the Modern," in How is Global Dialogue Possible?: Foundational Research on Values, Conflicts and Intercultural Thought, Johanna Seibt and Jesper Garsdal, eds. (DeGruyter, 2014), 225-49.
  • Douglas P. Fry and Patrik Söderberg, "Myths about Hunter-Gatherers Redux: Nomadic Forager War and Peace," Journal of Aggression, Conflict and Peace Research 6 (2014.):255-66.
  • Geneviève Souillac and Douglas P. Fry, "Indigenous Lessons for Conflict Resolution," in The Handbook of Conflict Resolution: Theory and Practice (Third Edition), Peter Coleman, Morton Deutsch, and Eric Marcus, eds. (Jossey-Bass, 2014), 602-22.
  • Douglas P. Fry and Patrik Söderberg, "Lethal Aggression in Mobile Forager Bands and the Implications for the Origins of War," Science 341 (2013):270-73.
  • Douglas P. Fry, ed., War, Peace, and Human Nature: The Convergence of Evolutionary and Cultural Views (Oxford University Press, 2013).
  • Douglas P. Fry, "Life without War," Science 336 (2012):879-84.
  • Douglas P. Fry, "Anthropological Examples of Peacemaking: Practice and Theory," in Peacemaking: From Practice to Theory, Volume II, Susan Allen Nan, Zachariah Mampily, and Andrea Bartoli, eds., (Praeger Security International, 2012), 550-62.
  • Douglas P. Fry, The Human Potential for Peace: An Anthropological Challenge to Assumptions about War and Violence (Oxford University Press, 2006).
  • Graham Kemp and Douglas P. Fry, eds., Keeping the Peace: Conflict Resolution and Peaceful Societies around the World (Routledge, 2004).
  • Co-Editor-in-Chief of The Journal of Aggression, Conflict and Peace Research
  • 2005 Recipient of Åbo Akademi University’s Harry Elvings Teaching Excellence Award and Stipend.