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The End of Agrarianism at the Dawn of the Anthropocene

Date and Time: 
Thursday, May 24, 2018. 05:00 PM - 06:30 PM
Meeting Location: 
Stanford Archaeology Center
Archaeology--Political Landscapes: Past and Present
Meeting Description: 

Between 1900 and 2000 the percentage of humanity in Europe and North America that made its living from agriculture plummeted from around one half to less than one fiftieth. The scope of this rupture in an agrarian modus vivendi for the majority far exceeds history in any sense of what transpired over the course of a few decades, for it capped off multiple continua within things and their iterative relations measured in millennia and even tens of millennia. Through the example of the Argive Plain, Greece this paper highlights numerous idiosyncratic changes indicative of this profound transformation. Touching lightly upon some of the ways archaeology has conceived of change, it argues for an object-oriented approach to a long-term era of agrarianism.

Christopher Witmore is associate professor of archaeology and classics in the Department of Classics & Modern Languages & Literatures at Texas Tech University. Holding a PhD from Stanford University (2005) and an MA from the University of Sheffield (1998), Chris is fascinated by the character and scope of archaeology. For over a decade he has explored fundamental questions concerning the discipline’s objects, practices, and rapports with what has become of the past. He is co-author of Archaeology: The Discipline of Things (2012, with B. Olsen, M. Shanks and T. Webmoor), co-editor of Archaeology in the Making (2013, with W. Rathje and M. Shanks), and co-editor of the Routledge Archaeological Orientations series (with G. Lucas). His current projects include "Old Lands: A Chorography of the Eastern Peloponnesus" and "Teillager 6, Sværholt: The Archaeology of a POW Camp in Finnmark, Arctic Norway (with B. Olsen and Þ. Pétursdóttir).