Spring Proseminar: Douglas J. Kennett

Event Date: 

Friday, May 19, 2017 - 4:00pm to 5:00pm

Event Location: 

  • HSSB 2001A
Climate Change and Sociopolitical Cycling in the Maya Region
DOUGLAS J. KENNETT, Professor and Department Head Department of Anthropology & Institute for Energy and the Environment, Pennsylvania State University
Climate scientists predict major changes in global temperature and precipitation in the next century and it is not yet known how our complex societies will respond. Interdisciplinary archaeological research provides a laboratory for exploring the inherent complexities of societal response in the face of climate change over long periods of time with potential relevance to present and future societies. The episodic formation, consolidation and breakdown of preindustrial states occurred in multiple contexts worldwide during the last 5,000 years and were contingent upon interacting endogenous economic, demographic and political mechanisms. In some instances, there is support for climate change stimulating integration or inducing sociopolitical fragmentation in these complex systems. Kennett will present the results of an on-going interdisciplinary project focused on the cyclical nature of societal response to climate change during the last 2,000 years in the Maya region.