The Handshake

25 September 2021

The Handshake

Discover the history of our most ancient social gestures with Ella Al-Shamahi as she argues the handshake is possibly older than humanity itself.
Concession rates are available.
'The Handshake' book cover

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Strangers do it. Friends do it. Politicians do it. Even chimpanzees do it.

The handshake, a simple action that carries so many different meanings, is embedded in our history and culture. Our closest living relatives, the chimps, habitually shake hands.

Join Ella Al-Shamahi as she argues that the handshake is built into our biology, rather than simply being a socially constructed gesture, as received wisdom would have us believe. She will trace the history of the gesture from pre-historic times, through some of the most famous handshakes in history, right up to the present day where the handshake has fallen from grace in the face of the Coronavirus pandemic.

About the speaker

Ella Al-Shamahi is a National Geographic Explorer, palaeoanthropologist, evolutionary biologist and stand-up comic. Specialising in Neanderthals, caves and expeditions in hostile, disputed and unstable territories, she is also a TV presenter, a TED speaker and has performed at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. She has degrees in Genetics, Taxonomy and Biodiversity, and is currently undertaking her PhD in Palaeoanthropology.

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'The Handshake' book cover

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