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Archaeology, climate-change and environmental ethics: diachronic perspectives on human:non-human:environment worldviews, activism and care

Shaw, J; (2017) Archaeology, climate-change and environmental ethics: diachronic perspectives on human:non-human:environment worldviews, activism and care. World Archaeology , 48 (4) 10.1080/00438243.2016.1326754. Green open access

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Abstract

This paper calls for archaeological engagement with the ethical dimension of past:present:future global environmental discourse and Anthropocene studies. In contrast to the recent chronological focus of archaeology’s engagement with Anthropocene studies, and its often rather generalised call for recognising the relevance of historically attested adaptive responses to climate change to current challenges, it highlights the need to examine the individual contributing and resulting factors of climate change and extreme environmental events. It advocates an approach that combines archaeology’s traditional focus on the practical and material elements of disaster management, with one that explores historical epistemologies of human:non-human care and entanglement, and socio-religious and collective ideological movements as driving forces behind historically specific environmental ethics. In relation to the ‘non-human’ element of the human:non-human:environment configuration there is special emphasis not only on non-human animals, but also conceptualisations of divine, ‘supra-human’, and numinous entities and spheres such as gods, spirits, and sacred places which are essential for attaining fully syncretic perspectives on diachronic environmental ethics. A key argument is that recognition of the multi-directional dynamics of human: environment entanglement, drawing on developments within religious studies, the environmental and medical humanities, as well as environmental health discourse, is crucial for achieving more widespread engagement with environmental activism, and movement towards long term behavioural changes that ultimately reduce global suffering and increase environmental, economic and human wellbeing.

Type: Article
Title: Archaeology, climate-change and environmental ethics: diachronic perspectives on human:non-human:environment worldviews, activism and care
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1080/00438243.2016.1326754
Publisher version: http://doi.org/10.1080/00438243.2016.1326754
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: Anthropocene studies, Archaeology as environmental humanities, Climate change, Religion and ecology, Environmental medicine, Environmental ethics
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Institute of Archaeology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Institute of Archaeology > Institute of Archaeology Gordon Square
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1523975
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