Joel Gunn

Grant Type

Conference Grant

Institutional Affiliation

North Carolina, Greensboro, U. of

Grant number

Gr. CONF-761

Approve Date

August 22, 2017

Project Title

Gunn, Dr. Joel, U. of North Carolina, Greensboro, NC - To aid workshop on 'Emergence of Societal Complexity through Human Environment Relations - ESHER,' 2018, Delft, Netherlands, in collaboration with Dr. Maurits Ertsen

Preliminary abstract: Emerging social complexity is an important theme across archaeology and past societies. Water systems — especially irrigation — enabled food surpluses to support large populations associated with complex societies. Within archaeology’s perspectives on larger spatial and longer time scales, however, we still need to understand how social complexity emerged from interactions between humans and material properties of their irrigated landscapes. How did our ancestors move from their todays to their futures by steps that produced their reality? In this workshop, participants will compare the co-evolutionary transformations of practices that created new forms and processes in irrigated landscapes leading (or not) to social complexity. The outcome will be an understanding of how longer and larger institutional scales causally relate to shorter and smaller human scales. Specific attention will be given to developing a model-based, action-oriented methodology based on actor-network theory. By explicitly linking the short and long terms, and theoretical perspectives with empirical research, the workshop aims to build understanding of how the patterns we observe were produced. The project has three objectives: define steps towards a model-based methodology; explore conditions for emerging social complexity within societies; and develop theoretical and methodological implications for applications such as in hydrology and future studies.