Archaeology, ethnobiology, and environmental justice

Date and Time: 
Friday, 6 May, 2011 - 16:20 to 16:40
HAYASHIDA, Frances - University of New Mexico

Archaeology provides a long term perspective on humans and the environment that has been used to (1) recover information on lost ethnobiological knowledge and practices that can be applied to current problems of sustainable food production and resource management, (2) model the long term dynamics of what are termed socio-natural systems, and (3) generate cautionary tales about overexploitation. Applying these “lessons from the past” in any useful way requires explicit recognition of the relations of power in the past that shaped decisions about resource use and production, and the same forces that shape those decisions today. To begin to develop an archaeology that can be applied to issues of environmental justice we also need to reassess disciplinary and institutional boundaries, the current structure of funding and training, and the role of archaeology in modern political economies.