Lessons from the ancestors? The archaeology of human ecodynamics in Polynesia Event as iCalendar

(Anthropology, School of Social Sciences)

27 September 2018


Venue: Lecture Theatre, Old Government House (102-G36)

Professor Melinda Allen| Inaugural lecture

As people settled the eastern Pacific new ecological relations were forged and fundamentally different bioscapes evolved. In the process, highly productive environments were created—sustaining indigenous communities for centuries and largely transcending geologic and climatic perturbations. Drawing on archaeological research in East Polynesia, Professor Allen steps away from narratives of loss and “catastrophe”, focusing instead on the ways that past societies created, inhabited, and continuously re-negotiated their socio-ecological worlds. Alongside a growing number of archaeologists, she argues these multi-century records of human ecodynamics are relevant to 21st century challenges. Unlocking their full potential, however, requires robust partnerships with indigenous communities and interdisciplinary collaborations.

Professor Melinda Allen specialises in Pacific archaeology with a research focus on human palaeoecology, colonisation processes, and long-distance exchange and interaction. Her work draws on theory and models from human behavioural ecology and evolutionary theory to understand socio-ecological relationships and long-term social processes. She graduated from the University of Washington (Seattle) in 1992, and began her professional career as a Research Anthropologist at the Bernice P. Bishop Museum in Honolulu. Her research has been supported by the Royal Society of New Zealand Marsden Fund, U.S. National Science Foundation, and National Geographic Society, among others. She is currently an A.I. in the Te Pūnaha Matatini Centre for Research Excellence (Bio-complexity theme). Melinda has published widely in both social and natural science journals.


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