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Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Vulnerability and Resilience in Island Socioecosystems

Occasional Talk by UHM Anthropology & UHM Center for Pacific Island Studies Present:

Patrick V. Kirch
Professor of Anthropology and Integrative Biology                                                      
 University of California-Berkeley

4:00 pm on Friday (October 26)
345 Saunders Hall

Professor Kirch’s talk will outline the goals and initial results of a multidisciplinary collaboration focused on island ecosystems and cultural responses to ecosystem change which led to radically transformed landscapes and emergent sociopolitical formations in Polynesia.

“Using a comparative approach, our project is investigating three contrastive islands in Eastern Polynesia, Mangareva, Mo‘orea, and Maupiti, applying the concept of islands as model systems. Our interpretive model utilizes resilience theory to understand long-term human ecodynamics and the evolution of island socioecosystems.

The three island case studies provide critical contrasts in island geology and age, geomorphology, size, and climate and marine resources; vary significantly in the degree of socio-political hierarchy and integration; and have existing archaeological and paleoecological data from which we can build.

Our goal is to understand interactions among anthropogenic landscape change, and shifts in settlement patterns, agricultural infrastructure, production, and ideological control, both how these variables influenced emerging social complexity, and how they affected long term adaptive cycles in island socioecosystems.”

Professor Kirch is Class of 1954 Professor of Anthropology and Integrative Biology at the University of California-Berkeley. He has conducted archaeological research in the Pacific Islands, including Hawai‘i, for more than 40 years and he has published more than 230 books, monographs, and journal articles. Dr. Kirch is a fellow of the US National Academy of Sciences and he has received numerous awards including (but not limited to) the Herbert E. Gregory Medal for Distinguished Service to Science in the Pacific, the J.I. Staley Prize of the School of American Research (with Marshall D. Sahlins), and the John J. Carty Award for the Advancement of Science.

For more information contact J. Bayman at

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