[POSTPONED] CCHRI Annual Colloquium - "Past Answers to Current Concerns: Collaborative Conceptual Modeling and Related Approaches to Understanding Historical Societal Resilience"

Wed, May 6, 2020 (All day)


"Past Answers to Current Concerns: Collaborative Conceptual Modeling and Related Approaches to Understanding Historical Societal Resilience"

Wednesday, May 6, 2020
9:15 a.m. -  6 p.m.
211 Dickinson Hall • Princeton University




Wednesday, May 6

9:15 – 9:30 A.M.  |  Introduction  

  • John Haldon (Princeton University)   

9:30 - 11:10 A.M. | Session 1

  • Chair: Lee Mordechai (Hebrew University Jerusalem)
  • " Participatory Pasts and Fuzzy Futures: Tools to View History as a System"| Luke Kemp (Centre for the Study of Existential Risk, U Cambridge)        
  •  "Using History to Understand Current Challenges with Resilience and Systemic Risk" |  Benjamin Trump (US Army Corps of Engineering R & D Center)               

11:10 – 11:20  A.M. | Break

11:20 A.M. - 1 P.M. | Session 2

  • Chair: Adam Izdebski (MPI Jena)
  • "Success and Failure in the Norse N. Atlantic: Origins, Pathway Divergence, Extinction and Survival" | Tom McGovern (Hunter College CUNY)
  • "Tsunamis, El Nino, and War on Aceh, Sumatra" | Emmanuel Kreike (History Dept., Princeton)

 1 – 2 P.M. |  Lunch    

2 - 3:40 P.M. | Session 3:    

  • Chair: Jim Newhard (College of Charleston)
  • "What Price Success? Environmental and Human Costs of South Indian Agrarian Histories" | Kathleen Morrisson (Dept. of Anthropology, University of Pennsylvania)
  • "Queen Rice: Modeling Human and Natural Systems of Historic Rice Fields in the Gullah Geechee Corridor in the Face of Climate Change and Sea Level Rise" | Edda Fields-Black (Dept of History, Carnegie Mellon University), Travis Folk (Land management, Inc) and Daniel Hanks (Clemson University, Department of Forestry and Environmental Conservation)

3:40 - 4 P.M. | Break

4 - 5:40 P.M. | Session 4   

Chair: Hugh Elton (Trent U/Ontario)

  • "After 1177 BCE: Resilience, Resistance, and the Relevance of the Rebirth of Civilizations for Today’s World" | Eric Cline (Dept. of History, George Washington University)
  • "Are all unhappy systems alike? Finding Patterns in Historical Collapses" | Thayer Patterson & Miguel Centeno (Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies, Princeton University)

5:40 - 6 PM | Closing Remarks

How did environmental and climatic changes, whether sudden high impact events or more subtle gradual changes, impact human responses in the past? How did societal perceptions of such changes affect behavioral patterns and explanatory rationalities in premodernity? And can a better historical understanding of these relationships inform our response to contemporary problems of similar nature and magnitude, such as adapting to climate change? Our initiative (CCHRI) has now been working on these issues for five years, and we have made considerable progress in developing strategies to enable palaeoscientists, archaeologists and historians to talk to one another and resolve issues of scale.

One of our main foci has been to think about the ways in which socio-environmental asymmetries with different degrees of socio-political complexity and population density precondition the potentials for inherent resilience under environmental stress. By analyzing historical societies as complex adaptive systems, we also contribute to contemporary thinking about societal-environmental interactions in policy and planning.  

To expand our analytical tool-kit we are pursuing the application of Collaborative Conceptual Modeling (CCM) in combination with ‘qualitative scenario storylines’ (QSS), a technique used to translate quantitative modelling into real-world scenarios.  We want to apply both these approaches to the adaptation of historical data about past societal responses and resilience to contemporary and future planning and to achieve this we want to engage specialists from the fields of both history and archaeology as well as the field of risk assessment and future planning.

Organized by: John Haldon, Princeton University | Lee Mordechai, Hebrew University | Center for Collaborative History

Sponsored by: Center for Collaborative History | Committee for the Study of Late Antiquity | Humanities Council | Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies | Princeton Environmental Institute | Program in the Ancient World | Program in Medieval Studies | Seeger Center for Hellenic Studies

211 Dickinson Hall

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