Past Events

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February 19, 2020
12:00am to 1:00pm

SPEAKER:

Dr. Richard Hansen

Adjunct Professor

Department of Anthropology

University of Utah

ABSTRACT:

Excavations over four decades in the Mirador Basin have revealed perspectives of the origins, dynamics, and demographic collapse of the Preclassic Maya societies that flourished in northern Guatemala and southern Campeche, Mexico.  The identifications of the social, political, and economic catalysts that created the cultural complexities in the Maya Lowlands have allowed new explanatory models responsible for the rise of cultural complexity during the Middle and Late Preclassic periods of Maya civilization (1000 BC-A.D. 150).  Mapping and excavations in 51 ancient cities of various sizes throughout the entirety of the Basin have also revealed the ideological, logistical and economic dynamics that created a homogeneous society that merged to form one of the earliest state level societies in the Western Hemisphere. Yet, even in light of the economic, political, and ideological complexities of the Preclassic Maya in the Mirador Basin, a series of multicausal factors contributed to the long term demographic collapse of civilization in the area.  The synthesis of the entire panorama of cultural process in the Mirador Basin provides new understandings of the saga of humanity found in emergent Maya civilization that is now being revealed for the first time.

Location Fowler A222 (Seminar Room)
Contact Sumiji Takahashi
Email sutakahashi@ioa.ucla.edu
Phone 310-825-4169
February 13, 2020
12:00pm to 2:00pm

Mariana Favila Vázquez

Archeological studies regarding pre-Hispanic mechanisms of environment appropriation have been crucial to explain the complexity of Mesoamerican societies. However, an ontological dichotomy of water and land has permeated these investigations for decades. The activities practiced on the mainland, such as agriculture, among many others, are the preferred focus of interest for explaining indigenous social and historical processes. The activities and the role of the aquatic spaces are generally considered subordinate or secondary concerning the former. Through archaeological, iconographic and historical
evidence this paper argues that Mesoamerican cultures, such as the Olmec, Maya, and Aztec, had a perception of the environment in which, although water was of course distinguished from the mainland, it was not seen exclusively as an opposite space, liminal and independent to the political, social, economic and religious dynamics of the indigenous people. Evidence of this is the development of a complex nautical technology that was permeated by the religious and ideological configurations of the societies that produced it. Consequently, navigation was practiced as a landscape connectivity system that integrated the use of waterways, coastal lagoons, wetlands, and estuaries, along with roads and activities in the mainland. This study allows for rethinking the valuation of aquatic spaces and getting closer to the local perception of the environment, in which the aquatic spaces are no longer the limit of the territories inhabited by humans.

This talk is part of the El Mar Y Sus Metáforas Series and will be in Spanish. For more information about this talk or series, please contact Jimena Rodriguez.

Mariana Favila Vázquez is a Professor of Archeology at the ENAH (National School of Anthropology and History, México) and a research associate in the project “Digging into early colonial Mexico: a large-scale computational analysis of 16th century historical sources” of the University of Lancaster, United Kingdom and the Museo de Templo Mayor in Mexico. Her research has focused on indigenous pre-Hispanic and colonial navigation traditions in the Mesoamerican cultural area.

This talk is co-sponsored by the UCLA Latin American Institute, the Cotsen Institute of Archaeology and the Department of Spanish and Portuguese.

Location Lydeen Library, 4302 Rolfe Hall
Contact Jimena Rodriguez
Email jimenarodriguez@ucla.edu
Phone
February 12, 2020
12:00pm to 1:00pm

SPEAKER:

Dr. Amy E. Guisick

Associate Curator

National History Museum of Los Angeles County

ABSTRACT:

Methodological advances and innovative research are reshaping how we look for and understand human dispersals and adaptations on maritime landscapes. Refinements in paleoenvironmental reconstructions and search techniques have resulted in discoveries that challenge outdated theories of island and coastal regions as marginal to human migration, settlement, and subsistence. The Northern Channel Islands of California have become a focal point for this maritime research as new discoveries have shown this region to be integral for understanding initial human dispersals and early occupations in the New World. This region has also become a proving ground for methodological advances that are refining how we integrate land- and seabased data into project designs that recognize both the landscape and seascape as a complex maritime space integral to maritime societies. Recent research has focused on the terrestrial and submerged portions of the island landscape that were intact and subaerial during initial human dispersal to the islands and during the late Pleistocene and early Holocene island occupations. By integrating paleoenvironmental reconstructions, archaeology, historical ecology, and terrestrial and marine geology researchers are striving to recreate the paleoenvironment and paleolandscape present during initial island occupations. These data may be critical to clarify early island colonization and adaptions strategies of the first Americans.

Location Fowler A222 (Seminar Room)
Contact Sumiji Takahashi
Email sutakahashi@ioa.ucla.edu
Phone 310-825-4169
February 11, 2020
7:00pm to 8:30pm

Since the mid-1990s’, the U.S. federal government has relied on a border enforcement strategy known as “Prevention Through Deterrence.” Using various security infrastructure and techniques of surveillance, this strategy funnels undocumented migrants towards remote and rugged terrain with the hope that mountain ranges, extreme temperatures, and other “natural” obstacles will deter people from unauthorized entry. Thousands of people have perished while undertaking this dangerous activity. Since 2009, the Undocumented Migration Project has used a combination of archaeological, forensic, and ethnographic approaches to understand the various forms of violence that characterize the social process of clandestine migration. In this presentation, De León will discuss how the "archaeology of the contemporary" can help make this process visible and argue that the types of deaths that migrants experience in the desert are both violent and deeply political.

The Land of Open Graves will challenge audiences to confront the complexity of international migration and American policy choices.   

Reservations requested. Click here to RSVP by February 5. For more information call 310-825-4004.

Friends of the Cotsen Institute are invited to a private reception with Professor De León at 6pm. To learn more about the Friends visit their page or contact Michelle Jacobson at mjacobson@ioa.ucla.edu.

Jason De León, Ph.D.
Professor of Anthropology and Chicana/0 Studies
University of California, Los Angeles
Executive Director, Undocumented Migration Project

Jason De León, 2017 MacArthur Fellow, is Professor of Anthropology and Chicana/o Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles with his lab located in the Cotsen Institute of Archaeology. His multidisciplinary approach to the study of migration from Latin America to the United States is bringing to light the lives and deaths of clandestine migrants crossing the U.S.–Mexico border into the Sonoran Desert of Arizona. He combines ethnographic analysis of migrant stories, forensic science, and archaeological research in his efforts to understand this process—who makes the journey, the routes, the means of survival and manner of death—and the human consequences of immigration policy.

Location California NanoSystems Institute Auditorium
Contact Michelle Jacobson
Email mjacobson@ioa.ucla.edu
Phone 310-825-4004
February 7, 2020
8:00am to 5:00pm

The Graduate Student Association of Archaeology, an affiliate of the Cotsen Institute of Archaeology, will host the 8th Graduate Archaeology Research Conference. This conference will take place on the UCLA campus in Los Angeles, California, on February 7th and 8th, 2020. Accepted applicants will give 20-minute presentations followed by brief question-and-answer sessions.

PDF iconProgram with Abstracts - 8th Graduate Archaeology Research Conference.pdf


The talks will cover interdisciplinary approaches to this year’s theme on “Experiencing Destruction and Regeneration in Archaeology.” Speakers will discuss the many contexts in which uncontrolled or deliberate destruction—as well as regeneration, reconstruction, and re-use—plays a part in the archaeological past and present. Destruction lies at the heart of archaeological inquiries, seen in every context from the collapse of civilizations to the deliberate breaking of ceramics in ritual settings. Destruction of archaeological remains also occurs in the present through the neglect or eradication of material heritage for economic, sociopolitical or environmental reasons. Simultaneously, reconstruction and regeneration penetrate every aspect of archaeology—seen in current heritage management practices as well as in the material traces of ancient and modern peoples’  efforts at recovery, rebuilding and re-use.


Speakers are encouraged to approach this topic from an experiential perspective, as moments of destruction and reconstruction or regeneration provide communal sensorial experiences, producing and reproducing social memory and shared identities. Archaeology, as a discipline rooted in materiality, can access these senses at their most basic level. Exploring such experiences of destruction and regeneration allows us to better understand the mindsets of past and present peoples alike as they destroyed, rebuilt and remembered.

Keynote speaker Dr. Patricia Rubertone, Professor of Anthropology at Brown University, will address instances of destruction and regeneration through the intersecting lenses of archaeology, history and ethnography. She will discuss commemoration and erasure of Native American monuments in New England in the context of colonialism, as well as the implications of documentary genocide and urban renewal for recovering indigenous pasts.

Please RSVP by February 3rd here.

Email any questions to archaeogradcon@ioa.ucla.edu. The call for papers can be downloaded here.

Location Charles E. Young Grand Salon, Kerckhoff Hall (Feb 7) & Humanities Conference Room, 314 Royce Hall (Feb 8)
Contact Conference organizers
Email archaeogradcon@ioa.ucla.edu
Phone
February 5, 2020
12:00pm to 1:00pm

SPEAKER:

James E. Snead

Professor

Department of Anthropology

Cal State Northridge

ABSTACT:

 Historical archaeology in the western United States has traditionally focused on either the colonial-era "missions" or 19th century mining sites in remote locations.  Recently, however, historical archaeology itself has undergone a major conceptual shift, emphasizing the ways that the study of material culture can shed light on a wide range of historical topics dating to relatively recent times. These often bear on contemporary social issues, including ethnicity, identity, labor, and heritage.  The diverse communities of Los Angeles present a remarkable template for such research: this talk will describe current scholarship at CSUN focusing on specific "lost narratives" of the city's post-1850s inhabitants as examined through archaeology. Particular emphasis will be placed on the dynamics of "community engagement" that are the organizational center of these efforts.

Location Fowler A222 (Seminar Room)
Contact Sumiji Takahashi
Email sutakahashi@ioa.ucla.edu
Phone 310-825-4169
February 1, 2020
6:00pm to 8:00pm

Cotsen faculty Jason De León will be a guest on the podcast "Armchair Expert with Dax Shepard" on February 1, 2020. The UCLA Department of Anthropology is hosting a live taping of the podcast at 6:00pm in Korn Convocation Hall at UCLA.

De León will also be speaking on February 11th as part of the Archaeology 50th Anniversary Lecture Series.

Dax Shepard
BA '00, Anthropology

in conversation with 

Jason De León
Professor
UCLA Department of Anthropology
UCLA Department of Chicana and Chicano Studies


Saturday, February 1, 2020
6:00 p.m.

Korn Convocation Hall
UCLA


Click to RSVP

Registration required.
Seating is first come, first served and is not guaranteed.


Self-pay parking available in Structure 4

About Armchair Expert: 
Armchair Expert is a weekly podcast hosted by American actor, director, and writer Dax Shepard and Emmy-nominated Monica Padman. Each podcast features Shepard and Padman interviewing celebrities as well as journalists and academics about "the messiness of being human". Click here to learn more about Armchair Expert.

Location Korn Convocation Hall
Contact
Email
Phone
January 31, 2020
5:00pm to 8:00pm

The Old Kiyyangan Story, an anthropological film based on oral histories and archaeological excavations at the Old Kiyyangan Village, Ifugao, Philippines, will be presented January 31 at 5pm in the Anthropology Reading Room. In addition to the film screening, there will be a research presentation and Q & A with co-screenwriter and Associate Professor of Anthropology, Dr. Stephen Acabado. Acabado is a core faculty member of the Cotsen Institute of Archaeology. The event is free and open to the public.

 A trailer for the film can be viewed here.

Location Room 352 Haines Hall
Contact Stephen Acabado
Email
Phone
January 29, 2020
12:00pm to 1:00pm

SPEAKER:

Dr. Ryan Nichols

Associate Professor 

Dept. of Philosophy

Cal State Fullerton

ABSTRACT:

The purpose of this paper is to preliminarily explain the initial conditions and key forces from the Paleolithic, Neolithic, and pre-Imperial periods that contributed to distinctive features of subsequent Chinese culture, and to do so in accordance with an explicit model of cultural transmission. The paper opens with discussion of a small suite of genes supporting neurotransmitter function, genes that were selected in Continental East Asians. Second, Paleolithic climate, rainfall, plant domesticates, and physical ecological factors, principally of the Yellow River and North China Plain area, are reviewed with respect to their influence on early settlers and their social ecology. This focus fuels the third section too. In it I discuss the kinship structure, political organization, warfare, and religion of these Neolithic settlers. Fourth, the onset of cultural trends during the Shang and Zhou periods are discussed in terms of the initial conditions described above. By-products of this discussion include the identification of lacunae in a well-known model of cultural transmission, and the provisioning of the cultural evolutionary research community with a template, a draft template, for analytical application of theory to a historical population that explicitly considers Paleolithic and Neolithic genetic selection.

Location Fowler A222 (Seminar Room)
Contact Sumiji Takahashi
Email sutakahashi@ioa.ucla.edu
Phone 310-825-4169
January 23, 2020
5:00pm to 6:00pm

Dr. Sonia Zarrillo will be presenting on "New Approaches to Tracing Cacao's Dispersal from the Amazon Basin” on January 23rd at 5pm in the Cotsen Seminar Room (A222). This event was sponsored by the Andean Working Group.

Location Fowler A222 (Seminar Room)
Contact Louise Deglin
Email
Phone