ASA Conference 2018: The Firth Lecture

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ASA2018, 18-21 September
The University of Oxford and Oxford Brookes University


Ian Hodder (Stanford) will deliver the Firth Lecture on The Paradox of the Long Term: Human Evolution and Entanglement.

Over recent decades many archaeologists have eschewed evolutionary theories, and in doing so they have turned away from the identification of long-term trends that are of great relevance to present-day matters of concern. In particular, there is clear evidence for an overall long-term increase in the amount of human-made material and associated human-thing entanglements, an increase tied up with environmental impact and global inequalities. The directionality of these long-term changes is clear and yet evolutionary theory largely eschews notions of overall directional change. This paradox and its implications are the subject of this talk, with the suggestion made that, for human evolution at least, notions of directionality and path dependence need to be embraced, with concomitant changes in human evolutionary theory, and with implications for environmental and social policy.

ian hodder

Ian Hodder was trained at the Institute of Archaeology, University College London and at Cambridge University where he obtained his PhD in 1975. After a brief period teaching at Leeds, he returned to Cambridge where he taught until 1999. During that time he became Professor of Archaeology and was elected a Fellow of the British Academy. In 1999 he moved to teach at Stanford University as Dunlevie Family Professor in the Department of Anthropology and Director of the Stanford Archaeology Center. His main large-scale excavation projects have been at Haddenham in the east of England and at Çatalhöyük in Turkey where he has worked since 1993. He has been awarded the Oscar Montelius Medal by the Swedish Society of Antiquaries, the Huxley Memorial Medal by the Royal Anthropological Institute, the Fyssen International Prize, has been a Guggenheim Fellow, and has Honorary Doctorates from Bristol and Leiden Universities. His main books include Symbols in action (1982 CUP), Reading the Past (1986 CUP), The Domestication of Europe (1990 Blackwell), The Archaeological Process (1999 Blackwell), The Leopard’s Tale: Revealing the Yysteries of Çatalhöyük (2006 Thames and Hudson), Entangled: An Archaeology of the Relationships Between Humans and Things (2012 Wiley Blackwell). For further information, please click here.


The Call for Papers is now closed. Registration for the conference will open on 4 June. Please see the conference registration website here.