D4. Ella Al-Shamahi: The Handshake – A Gripping History

Friends do it, strangers do it and even chimpanzees do it – and it’s not just deeply embedded in our history and culture, it may even be written in our DNA.

The humble handshake has a rich and surprising history. Join palaeoanthropologist Ella Al-Shamahi as she embarks on a funny and fascinating voyage of discovery – from the handshake’s origins (at least seven million years ago) to its sudden disappearance in March 2020.

Drawing on new research, anthropological insights and first-hand experience, she’ll reveal how this most friendly of gestures has played a role in everything from meetings with uncontacted tribes to political assassinations – and what it tells us about the enduring power of human contact.

Interview by Lauren Livesey who is based in West Yorkshire, and, until recently, ran the events programme at the Brontë Parsonage Museum through their period of bicentenary celebrations.

Buy the BookCaptioned Event

Do you want to enjoy access to all our pre-recorded digital weekend events for free? Become a Friend of the Festival.


Event Details

    • Date: Saturday 2nd October
    • Time: 1:00 pm
  • VenueDigital Event
  • Price£5.00/£0.00 concessions

Sign-up to our newsletter

Sign up to our mailing list below.

* indicates required