For most of our existence, humans have lived by hunting and gathering alone. The extent to which our biology, physiology, psychology, cultural dispositions, and social conventions are each a function of this deep history is an open question. Research on hunter-gatherers is therefore essential to understanding what it is to be human, and the vast majority of what there is to learn about them (and therefore us) is visible only in the cryptic remains of histories bereft of written records. Unfortunately, so much of what there is to learn about the hunter-gatherer foundations of East Asian history has been ignored by an intellectual tradition focused on other things. Fortunately, this has changed a lot over the past decade. Dr. Barton will discuss recent efforts to understand human behavior through archaeological data, and will explore a theoretical foundation for making sense of those data. In particular, he’ll explore issues related to the early human occupation of East Asia, the ecology of inter-group competition, the relationship between resources, technology, and mobility, and finally the origin of agriculture and the domestication of plants and animals.
Hunter-Gatherers and Deep Time Perspectives in Northeast Asian History
Dr. Loukas Barton, Assistant Professor, Department of Anthropology, University of Pittsburgh
Friday, February 28, 2014 - 16:00 to 17:30
4217 Posvar Hall, University of Pittsburgh
Asian Studies Center