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War, what is it good for?

Item by Jim Bishop

Speculation on why people fight wars with such appalling frequency, especially when the decision to go to war rests with many or most members of society rather than with a few leaders, is the theme of the final Suter Science Seminar of spring semester at Eastern Mennonite University.

Elizabeth Arkush, assistant professor of anthropology at the University of Virginia, will address the topic, “War, What Is It Good For? A View from the Ancient Andes,” 4 p.m. Friday in room 104 of the Suter Science Center at EMU.

Dr. Arkush will explore the potential of multi-causal approaches for understanding warfare, using as a case study a time of widespread conflict in the pre-Columbian Andes in the centuries before the rise of the Inca Empire.

“Warfare decimates societies around the globe, and it has done so for thousands of years,” Arkush noted. “Anthropologists struggle to explain why people Explanations range from biology to power vacuums, from resource stress to particular cultural patterns.”

Refreshments will be served 15 minutes prior to the presentation.

Admission to the program is free.

For more information, contact Dr. Roman Miller at 540.432.4412; email:

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