Time and Complexity in Historical Ecology

Author: William L. Balée
Publisher: Columbia University Press
ISBN: 0231509618
Format: PDF, ePub
Download Now
This collection of studies by anthropologists, botanists, ecologists, and biologists is an important contribution to the emerging field of historical ecology. The book combines cutting-edge research with new perspectives to emphasize the close relationship between humans and their natural environment. Contributors examine how alterations in the natural world mirror human cultures, societies, and languages. Treating the landscape like a text, these researchers decipher patterns and meaning in the Ecuadorian Andes, Amazonia, the desert coast of Peru, and other regions in the neotropics. They show how local peoples have changed the landscape over time to fit their needs by managing and modifying species diversity, enhancing landscape heterogeneity, and controlling ecological disturbance. In turn, the environment itself becomes a form of architecture rich with historical and archaeological significance. Time and Complexity in Historical Ecology explores thousands of years of ecological history while also addressing important contemporary issues, such as biodiversity and genetic variation and change. Engagingly written and expertly researched, this book introduces and exemplifies a unique method for better understanding the link between humans and the biosphere.

Advances in Historical Ecology

Author: William L. Balée
Publisher: Columbia University Press
ISBN: 9780231533577
Format: PDF
Download Now
Ecology is an attempt to understand the reciprocal relationship between living and nonliving elements of the earth. For years, however, the discipline either neglected the human element entirely or presumed its effect on natural ecosystems to be invariably negative. Among social scientists, notably in geography and anthropology, efforts to address this human-environment interaction have been criticized as deterministic and mechanistic. Bridging the divide between social and natural sciences, the contributors to this book use a more holistic perspective to explore the relationships between humans and their environment. Exploring short- and long-term local and global change, eighteen specialists in anthropology, geography, history, ethnobiology, and related disciplines present new perspectives on historical ecology. A broad theoretical background on the material factors central to the field is presented, such as anthropogenic fire, soils, and pathogens. A series of regional applications of this knowledge base investigates landscape transformations over time in South America, the Mississippi Delta, the Great Basin, Thailand, and India. The contributors focus on traditional societies where lands are most at risk from the incursions of complex, state-level societies. This book lays the groundwork for a more meaningful understanding of humankind's interaction with its biosphere. Scholars and environmental policymakers alike will appreciate this new critical vocabulary for grasping biocultural phenomena.

Inside Cultures

Author: William Balee
Publisher: Routledge
ISBN: 1315426471
Format: PDF, Kindle
Download Now
This concise, contemporary, and inexpensive option for instructors of cultural anthropology breaks away from the traditional structure of introductory textbooks. Emphasizing the interaction between humans and their environment, the tension between human universals and cultural variation, and the impacts of colonialism on traditional cultures, Inside Cultures shows students how cultural anthropology can help us understand the complex, globalized world around us. This second edition: includes brand new material on a variety of subjects, including genomic studies, race and racism, cross-cultural issues of gender identity, terrorism and ethnography, and business anthropology; presents updated and enhanced discussions of medical anthropology, European colonialism and disease, the Atlantic slave trade, and much more; offers personal stories of the author’s fieldwork in Amazonia, sidebars illustrating fascinating cases of cultures in action, and other pedagogical elements such as timelines; is written is clear, supple prose that delights readers while informing them

Island Historical Ecology

Author: Peter E. Siegel
Publisher: Berghahn Books
ISBN: 1785337645
Format: PDF, ePub, Docs
Download Now
In the first book-length treatise on historical ecology of the West Indies, Island Historical Ecology addresses Caribbean island ecologies from the perspective of social and cultural interventions over approximately eight millennia of human occupations. Environmental coring carried out in carefully selected wetlands allowed for the reconstruction of pre-colonial and colonial landscapes on islands between Venezuela and Puerto Rico. Comparisons with well-documented patterns in the Mediterranean and Pacific islands place this case study into a larger context of island historical ecology.

San Jacinto 1

Author: Augusto Oyuela-Caycedo
Publisher: University of Alabama Press
ISBN: 0817351841
Format: PDF, ePub, Docs
Download Now
A significant work of neotropical archaeology presenting evidence of early hunter-gatherers who produced fiber-tempered ceramics. Few topics in the development of humans have prompted as much interest and debate as those of the origins of pottery and agriculture. The first appearance of pottery in any area of the world is heralded as a new stage in the progress of humans toward a more complex arrangement of thought and society. Cultures are defined and separated by the occurrence of pottery types, and the association of pottery with mobility and agriculture continues to drive research in anthropology. For these reasons, the discovery of the earliest fiber-tempered pottery in the New World and carbonized remains identified as maize kernels is exciting. San Jacinto 1 is the archaeological site located in the savanna region of the north coast of Colombia, South America, where excavations by led by the authors have revealed evidence of mobile hunter-gatherers who made pottery and who collected and processed plants from 6000 to 5000 B.P. The site is believed to show an early human adaptation to the tropics in the context of significant environmental changes that were taking place at the time. This volume presents the data gathered and the interpretations made during excavation and analysis of the San Jacinto 1 site. By examining the social activities of a human population in a highly seasonal environment, it adds greatly to our contemporary understanding of the historical ecology of the tropics. Study of the artifacts excavated at the site allows a window into the early processes of food production in the New World. Finally, the data reveals that the origins of ceramic technology in the tropics were tied to a reduction in mobility and an increase in territoriality and are widely applicable to similar studies of sedentism and agriculture worldwide.

The Maya Forest Garden

Author: Anabel Ford
Publisher: Routledge
ISBN: 1315417928
Format: PDF, Docs
Download Now
The conventional wisdom says that the devolution of Classic Maya civilization occurred because its population grew too large and dense to be supported by primitive neotropical farming methods, resulting in debilitating famines and internecine struggles. Using research on contemporary Maya farming techniques and important new archaeological research, Ford and Nigh refute this Malthusian explanation of events in ancient Central America and posit a radical alternative theory. The authors-show that ancient Maya farmers developed ingenious, sustainable woodland techniques to cultivate numerous food plants (including the staple maize);-examine both contemporary tropical farming techniques and the archaeological record (particularly regarding climate) to reach their conclusions;-make the argument that these ancient techniques, still in use today, can support significant populations over long periods of time.

Cultural Forests of the Amazon

Author: William L. Balée
Publisher: University of Alabama Press
ISBN: 0817317864
Format: PDF, Mobi
Download Now
Winner of the Society for Economic Botany's Mary W. Klinger Book Award. Cultural Forests of the Amazon is a comprehensive and diverse account of how indigenous people transformed landscapes and managed resources in the most extensive region of tropical forests in the world. Until recently, most scholars and scientists, as well as the general public, thought indigenous people had a minimal impact on Amazon forests, once considered to be total wildernesses. William Balé e’ s research, conducted over a span of three decades, shows a more complicated truth. In Cultural Forests of the Amazon, he argues that indigenous people, past and present, have time and time again profoundly transformed nature into culture. Moreover, they have done so using their traditional knowledge and technology developed over thousands of years. Balé e demonstrates the inestimable value of indigenous knowledge in providing guideposts for a potentially less destructive future for environments and biota in the Amazon. He shows that we can no longer think about species and landscape diversity in any tropical forest without taking into account the intricacies of human history and the impact of all forms of knowledge and technology. Balé e describes the development of his historical ecology approach in Amazonia, along with important material on little-known forest dwellers and their habitats, current thinking in Amazonian historical ecology, and a narrative of his own dialogue with the Amazon and its people.

Historical Biogeography of Neotropical Freshwater Fishes

Author: James S. Albert
Publisher: Univ of California Press
ISBN: 0520948505
Format: PDF, ePub
Download Now
The fish faunas of continental South and Central America constitute one of the greatest concentrations of aquatic diversity on Earth, consisting of about 10 percent of all living vertebrate species. Historical Biogeography of Neotropical Freshwater Fishes explores the evolutionary origins of this unique ecosystem. The chapters address central themes in the study of tropical biodiversity: why is the Amazon basin home to so many distinct evolutionary lineages? What roles do ecological specialization, speciation, and extinction play in the formation of regional assemblages? How do dispersal barriers contribute to isolation and diversification? Focusing on whole faunas rather than individual taxonomic groups, this volume shows that the area’s high regional diversity is not the result of recent diversification in lowland tropical rainforests. Rather, it is the product of species accumulating over tens of millions of years and across a continental arena.

HEADS OF STATE

Author: Denise Y Arnold
Publisher: Left Coast Press
ISBN: 1598741713
Format: PDF, ePub, Docs
Download Now
Addresses the importance of the human head in political, ritual and symbolic contexts in the ancient and modern Andes.

Footprints of the Forest

Author: William L. Balée
Publisher: McGill-Queen's Press - MQUP
ISBN: 9780231074858
Format: PDF, ePub, Docs
Download Now
During and especially after the Second World War, a group of leading scholars who had been perilously close to the war's devastation joined others fortunate enough to have been protected by distance in an effort to redefine and reinvigorate Western liberal ideals for a radically new age. Treating evil as an analytical category, they sought to discover the sources of twentieth-century horror and the potentialities of the modern state in the wake of western desolation. In the process, they devised strikingly new ways to understand politics, sociology and history that reverberate still. In this major intellectual history, Ira Katznelson examines the works of Hannah Arendt, Robert Dahl, Richard Hofstadter, Harold Lasswell, Charles Lindblom, Karl Polanyi, and David Truman, detailing their engagement with the larger project of reclaiming the West's moral bearing. In light of their epoch's calamities these intellectuals insisted that the tradition of Enlightenment thought required a new realism, a good deal of renovation, and much recommitment. This array of historians, political philosophers, and social scientists understood that a simple reassertion of liberal modernism had been made radically insufficient by the enormities and moral catastrophes of war, totalitarianism, and holocaust. Confronting their period's dashed hopes for reason and knowledge, they asked not just whether the Enlightenment should define modernity, but which Enlightenment we should wish to have. Decades later, in the midst of a new type of war and reanimated discussions of the concept of evil, we share no small stake in assessing their successes and limitations.