Great Presenters: Prof. Matt Liebmann

View a video of this program.

"Protoamerican History:  Archaeological Tales of Discovery, Invasion, and Encounter"

How many people lived in the Americas before 1492?  How did European colonialism shape Native American demographics over the past 500 years?  Debates regarding the magnitude, tempo, and ecological effects of Indigenous population decline in the Americas constitute some of the most contentious disputes in the study of Native American history.  Was depopulation rapid and catastrophic, with effects extensive enough to change even the earth’s atmosphere?  Or has this decline been exaggerated due to problematic evidence (or lack thereof)?  This talk outlines the contours of these debates, summarizing landmark scholarship and recent advances in the field.  In the twenty-first century, archaeology has offered new evidence to address these enduring questions.  With the answers supplied by archaeology come new debates, however, focused on the effects of biology, European colonial policies, evangelical monotheism, and historical contingency.

Matthew Liebmann is the Peabody Professor of American Archaeology and Ethnology and Chair of the Department of Anthropology at Harvard University.  An archaeologist who works mainly in the Southwest US, Liebmann received his B.A. from Boston College, and his PhD from the University of Pennsylvania.  He is the author of Revolt: An Archaeological History of Pueblo Resistance and Revitalization in 17th Century New Mexico (University of Arizona Press 2012) and editor of Enduring Conquests: Rethinking the Archaeology of Resistance to Spanish Colonialism (School of Advanced Research Press, 2011), as well as Archaeology and the Postcolonial Critique (Altamira Press 2008). His research focuses on Indigenous-Colonial interactions in New Mexico, where he has conducted research in collaboration with the Pueblo of Jemez since 2001.  He has lived in Wayland since 2018.

Tuesday Feb 6, 2024
7:30 PM  -  8:45 PM
Courtney Michael    508-358-2311
Raytheon Room OR Zoom
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