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Patrick V. Kirch

Class of 1954 Professor of Anthropology and Integrative Biology, University of California, Berkeley

November 5, 2013 — 4:10 PM
Archeological Research Facility — 2251 College Building

Add to Google Calendar 11/05/2013 4:10 PM 11/05/2013 6:00 PM America/Los_Angeles Island Landscapes, Or Sauer Among the Polynesians

About the Lecture Carl Ortwin Sauer demonstrated through his work and writings that landscapes are the long-term contingent product of interactions between natural processes and cultural forces. In this lecture, Prof. Kirch applies the concept of landscape to the islands … Continued

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About the Lecture

Carl Ortwin Sauer demonstrated through his work and writings that landscapes are the long-term contingent product of interactions between natural processes and cultural forces. In this lecture, Prof. Kirch applies the concept of landscape to the islands of Polynesia. Drawing upon recent multi-disciplinary research, Kirch shows how certain natural properties of islands shaped the course of cultural and social evolution of island peoples, at the same time that cumulative effect of human actions irreversibly altered island environments.

About Patrick V. Kirch

Patrick Kirch studies the history, culture and ecology of the Polynesian islands and their peoples. He is particularly interested in how cultures originate and diversify, how sociopolitical forms called “chiefdoms” evolve, and how Polynesians interact with the complex ecology of the islands. His work creates surprising and fruitful interdisciplinary connections; bringing anthropology into dialogue with archeology, linguistics, historical archives, environmental science, and quantitative modeling, Kirch shows us new ways of understanding the peoples of the Pacific islands, from prehistory to the present. Kirch’s two most recent works—A Shark Going Inland is My Chief: The Island Civilization of Ancient Hawai’i (2012), and How Chiefs Became Kings: Divine Kingship and the Rise of Archaic States in Ancient Hawai’i(2010)—have garnered praise for their lively, evocative style and their comprehensive contributions to Polynesian prehistory. His earlier On the Roads of the Winds: An Archeological History of The Pacific Islands before European Contact (2002) delivers a sweeping account of Pacific island cultures from 40,000 BC to the sixteenth century.


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