Session: #1027

Theme & Session Format

4. Persisting with Change: Theory and Archaeological Scrutiny
Session format:
Regular session

Title & Content

How to Hunt? How to Herd? New Approaches to Old Questions on Human-Nonhuman/Animal Entanglements
With the expansion of posthumanist approaches in archaeological research, pivotal moments in the human past can be reinvigorated by novel perspectives. Perhaps most prominently, the decentering of human agency has elucidated the dynamic co-production of cultural practices and landscapes that can occur between humans, nonhuman animals, and the environments they share. Such methodologies offer fertile ground for transdisciplinary investigation that may expand our capacity for understanding human-nonhuman pasts. Particularly with regards to questions concerned with hunting and husbandry strategies, niche-construction, and the domestication of animals, the posthumanist turn can offer explanations for specific processes of human-nonhuman relationships beyond traditional behavioral ecology models.
The hunting and herding of animals are often considered in isolation of one another, or as a binary. But what of those societies engaged in both? How can we better understand hunting and/or herding knowledge systems of the past? What sort of insights could be yielded by examining the entirety of the hunting-herding spectrum through a posthumanist lens simultaneously?
This session focuses on theoretical and practical aspects of modeling human-nonhuman animal entanglements, with emphasis on how we understand past human hunting and/or herding strategies. We welcome theoretical, methodological, and case study contributions that reflect the complex relations between human and nonhumans regardless of time and space. Moreover, we are especially interested in the approaches that seek to describe and present cultural landscape transformation through non-anthropocentric frameworks. In order to guide the session, we invite contributions that tackle one or more of the following questions:
- What are relevant environmental, spatial or landscape features, and what roles do they play in the development of human/nonhuman communities and their socio-economic strategies?
- How can complex human-nonhuman/animal entanglements be modelled allowing the application of anthropological theory to archaeological data?
- What tools and approaches provide the data needed for a post-humanist framework?
Herding, Hunting, Niche Construction, Traditional Ecological Knowledge, Posthumanism
Session associated with MERC:
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Main organiser:
Morgan Windle (Germany) 1
Ashley Lemke (United States) 2
Henny Piezonka (Germany) 3
1. Kiel University
2. University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
3. Freien Universit├Ąt Berlin