“Towards ArchaeoEcology: Computational Social Science Tools to Study Humanity’s Past, Present, and Future,” Stefani Crabtree, Utah State University

Event time: 
Monday, February 17, 2020 - 11:40am to 12:55pm
Institution for Social and Policy Studies (PROS77 ), A002 See map
77 Prospect Street
New Haven, CT 06511
Event description: 


Abstract: Humans have impacted ecosystems worldwide for the past 200,000 years, yet many studies of ecosystems do not include humans, preferring to place humans apart from the natural environment. This approach denies the fact that every ecosystem worldwide is impacted by people; to have a more sustainable future we need to use computational social science approaches to understand the human place in ecosystems. Here I highlight my work as an “archaeo-ecologist” of embedding past human societies within ecosystems. The ability to model societies where we can examine beginning and end points can enable scientists to see the past as “experiments” in sustainability, learning from the archaeological record to improve our understanding of how to enable more resilient interactions with our own environments today. I show how the past can be calibration data for the present by using two main computational modeling techniques, agent-based models and food web models, to examine the unique ways humans provide key functions to the biotic environments they inhabit. Ultimately, this work suggests the complicated ways humans can be both beneficial and detrimental to ecosystems.

Stefani A. Crabtree is Assistant Professor in Socio-Environmental Modeling in the Department of Environment and Society of the Quinney College of Natural Resources at Utah State University and the ASU-SFI Center for Biosocial Complex Systems Fellow at The Santa Fe Institute. She additionally holds external affiliation at three institutions: Research Associate at Crow Canyon Archaeological Center, Fellow at the Centre de Recherches Interdisciplinaires Paris, and Research Associate at the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Australian Biodiversity and Heritage. Her research applies complex systems science modeling methodologies (such as agent-based modeling and network science) to problems in social science and ecology. Current research topics include the human place in ecosystems worldwide, the ability to use the archaeological past to calibrate our understanding of human resilience, and the feedbacks between ecosystem health and human health. Crabtree has published in general science and disciplinary journals across social science and ecology, including PNAS, Ecological Modelling, American Antiquity, Physics Today, Human Ecology, Journal of Archaeological Science, and Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory. Dr. Crabtree holds two Ph.D.s, one from Washington State University (Anthropology, 2016) and one from the Université de Franche-Comté (Maison des Sciences de l’Homme et l’Environnement, 2017).

This workshop is cosponsored by the Center for the Study of American Politics (CSAP) and the Yale School of Management (SOM) with support from the Initiative for Leadership and Organization at SOM.

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