LAC 2018. Call for papers. Session “The flip side of the coin: resilience, adaptation, and innovation in the wake of natural disasters”

Dear all,

Simon Jusseret and I will be organising a session at the next Landscape Archaeology Conference (LAC 2018) which will be held in Newcastle and Durham (UK), 17-20 September 2018. You are more than welcome to contribute to this session by submitting a paper or poster proposal by the 31st of March.

The call for papers for the conference will be organised centrally by the conference. Abstracts can be submitted via
Paolo Forlin

Session abstract:


Paolo Forlin (Durham University), Simon Jusseret (University of Texas)

KEYWORDS. natural disasters; impact; vulnerability; reactions; resilience; adaptation.

Natural disasters such as volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, tsunamis, floods, extreme weather events, and abrupt climate changes are key agents in transforming landscapes, sometimes in largely irreversible ways. From an archaeological perspective, these sudden and unpredictable events are often investigated as part of an ever-popular ‘collapse paradigm’ or through the paradigm of long-term evolutionary changes. As a counterpoint, this session aims to explore the impact of natural disasters, and the adaptive responses of affected communities, from a landscape archaeological perspective, understanding landscapes in their physical and socio-cultural dimensions. Instead of traditional categories such as ‘continuity’ and ‘discontinuity’, we seek to explore more fluid concepts of vulnerability, resilience, cultural change and risk reduction, focusing primarily on how adaptive strategies adopted in the aftermath of natural disasters impacted the cultural and physical fabric of landscapes. We particularly welcome contributions that highlight the creative role played by natural disasters in shaping cultural landscapes, either as ‘windows of opportunity’ or ‘exploitation’ (allowing the emergence and proliferation of alternative lifeways), ‘stimuli to innovations’ (providing new material conditions amenable to the development of innovative ideas) or ‘teachable moments’ and ‘learning reviews’ (allowing societies to reflect on their own practices, infrastructures and vulnerabilities). We invite papers that take account of the varied aspects of disaster archaeological research, bringing together case studies, methodological approaches and theoretical perspectives without geographical or chronological restrictions. We also encourage contributions showcasing ideas and reflections on the possible role of archaeological approaches to contemporary risk assessment and hazard communication in disaster-prone regions. Session participants will be invited to contribute to a collective scientific article focused on the creative impacts of natural disasters on ancient societies and the landscapes they inhabited.

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