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A Historical Archaeology of the Anthropocene

Author(s): George Hambrecht

Year: 2014

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In 2002 Paul Crutzen proposed the term ‘Anthropocene’ for the period in which human action had reached a point where it equaled or outweighed the influence of ‘natural processes’ on Earth’s climate. An increasing number of scholars, when faced with the challenge of how to best utilize research towards understanding and possibly mitigating against the effects of anthropogenic climate change, are arguing that the social sciences need to establish explicit research agendas with the study of Anthropocene society at their center. Understanding how climate systems might change is of course crucially important but understanding the human element in terms of both influence and reaction is necessary in order to get at the ‘social’ in socio-natural systems. Historical Archaeology is a natural candidate to further this challenge in a truly substantial way in that our period of study is precisely that period in which the Anthropocene emerged in a truly obvious way.

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A Historical Archaeology of the Anthropocene. George Hambrecht. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Quebec City, Quebec, Canada. 2014 ( tDAR id: 436614)

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): SYM-7,03

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America