The Historical Ecology of Global Climate Change
Brief summary of Historical Ecology a Multidimensional Ecological Orientation
In: Cultural Knowledge and Changing Landscapes. Chapter 1, Carole Crumley
Santa Fe: School of American research, 1996
The assumption that "culture has triumphed over nature," is mistaken, and characterizes an outdated nature-culture dualism. While in Anthropological human evolution textbooks the first part of the story is couched in evolutionary and environmental terms, the second part denies the environment a meaningful role in human history. Instead values, beliefs and issues, history, and culture constitute the key elements of the explanatory framework. This also reflected in the disciplinary separation of archeologist/physical anthropologists versus sociocultural anthropologists: neither acknowledges their mutual reliance.
Few efforts have been made that incorporate information about how humans have altered the environment or about how environmental change revised human activity. Examples of such changes are subsistence strategies, demographical patterns, and perceptions. To achieve this, there exists a need to develop a multidisciplinary framework. Multidisciplinarity in science is, and has been difficult to establish (Snow). Anthropology plays an important role in the development of such an framework. Its current perspective is integrative and comparative; inclusive of temporal, spatial and cultural dimensions; and dynamic. It motivates an historical focus on the dynamics of change.