Barbara J. King

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Barbara J. King
Born (1956-08-18) 18 August 1956 (age 67)
Academic background
Academic work
InstitutionsCollege of William & Mary (1988–2015)

Barbara J. King (born 18 August 1956) is professor emerita, retired from the Department of Anthropology at the College of William & Mary where she taught from 1988 to 2015, and was chair of the department of Anthropology.[1]


Since 2011, King has written weekly for the National Public Radio blog Cosmos and Culture,[2] which explores humans' relationships to each other, their environment, and the planet. Specifically, King focused often on the "inner lives" of intelligent animals like primates, the octopus, squid, pigs, and dolphins, arguing that humanity should consider how best to communicate and accommodate these species' lives without anthropomorphization or exploitation.

King also utilized the blog format to relate personal stories for a general audience, such as her treatment for uterine cancer (2013)[3] and her retirement from active teaching (2015).[4]

King has been a full-time science writer since 2015, publishing stories in Scientific American, book reviews in the Washington Post, and essays in The Atlantic.[5]

King is a pescatarian, stating that she supplements her "almost-vegetarian" diet with occasional fish.[6][7][8] She has also described herself as a "reducetarian".[9]

Selected publications[edit]

  • The Information Continuum: Evolution of Social Information Transfer in Monkeys, Apes, and Hominids. School of American Research Press, 1994. ISBN 978-0933452398
  • The Dynamic Dance: Nonvocal Communication in African Great Apes. Harvard University Press, 2004. ISBN 978-0674015159
  • Evolving God: A Provocative View on the Origins of Religion. Doubleday, 2007. ISBN 978-0385511049
  • Being with Animals: Why We Are Obsessed with the Furry, Scaly, Feathered Creatures Who Populate Our World. Doubleday, 2010.
  • How Animals Grieve. University of Chicago Press, 2013. ISBN 978-0226436944
  • "When Animals Mourn", Scientific American, July 2013.
  • Personalities on the Plate: The Lives and Minds of Animals We Eat. University of Chicago Press, 2017.[10][11][12][13] ISBN 9780226195186
  • Animals' Best Friends: Putting Compassion to Work for Animals in Captivity and in the Wild. University of Chicago Press, 2021.


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Barbara J. King". Retrieved 9 May 2017.
  2. ^ "Barbara J. King". Retrieved 24 October 2018.
  3. ^ "A Messy Sort of Gratitude: Giving Thanks For Radiation". Retrieved 24 October 2018.
  4. ^ "After 27 Years, A Goodbye To College Teaching". Retrieved 24 October 2018.
  5. ^ "Barbara J. King | World Science Festival". World Science Festival. Retrieved 24 October 2018.
  6. ^ King, Barbara J. (2017). Personalities on the Plate: The Lives and Minds of Animals We Eat. University of Chicago Press. p. 79. ISBN 978-0-226-19518-6 "I myself (owing to some long-term health challenges) feel healthiest when I supplement my almost-vegetarian diet with an occasional fish."
  7. ^ "We Are All Part-Time Vegans Now". WBUR News. Retrieved 26 December 2019. "My own way of eating is conventionally described as pescatarian: I eat fish, but not other meats. I don't count as a vegetarian because of the fish, and because I eat cheese, yogurt and other dairy products."
  8. ^ "On Animals, Part III: A Conversation with Barbara J. King and Jessica Pierce". University of Chicago Press. Retrieved 26 December 2019. "At the moment, I’m myself a pescatarian, and I’m grappling with what that means and whether I want to continue to eat fish and if so, which fish."
  9. ^ "'Personalities on the Plate' explores reasons to resist the temptations of the flesh-eater". College of William & Mary. Retrieved 26 December 2019.
  10. ^ Fiona Wilson (22 April 2017). "Personalities on the Plate: The Lives and Minds of the Animals We Eat by Barbara J King | Saturday Review | The Times & The Sunday Times". Thetimes. Retrieved 10 May 2017.
  11. ^ Personalities on the Plate: The Lives and Minds of Animals We Eat, King. Retrieved 10 May 2017.
  12. ^ King, Barbara J. (16 March 2017). "Excerpts From Barbara J. King's 'Personalities on the Plate: The Lives & Minds of Animals We Eat' : 13.7: Cosmos And Culture". NPR. Retrieved 10 May 2017.
  13. ^ Morell, Virginia (20 April 2017). "Before you put that fennel and garlic-scented chicken leg in your mouth, read this". The Washington Post. Retrieved 10 May 2017.
  14. ^ "Participants | World Science Festival". World Science Festival. Retrieved 24 October 2018.
  15. ^ "Professor Bio Page". Retrieved 24 October 2018.

External links[edit]