Human cultural change has been studied since antiquity and is the subject of dozens of modern academic disciplines. Yet, the study of cultural change as an evolutionary process, similar to genetic evolution but with its own inheritance mechanisms, is only now becoming a central area of scientific inquiry.
EI President David Sloan Wilson teamed up with cross-cultural psychologist Michele Gelfand to organize this workshop at Gelfand’s home institution of the University of Maryland, College Park. The purpose was to discuss how the academic study of cultural change can become theoretically unified and used in a practical sense to accomplish positive change in real-world settings. The workshop was highly successful and led to a decision to create a Society for the Study of Cultural Evolution which is now in progress.