Posted by: Johan Normark | January 25, 2017

Black Swans of the Anthropocene: Multiple ends of Maya Worlds

Earlier today I submitted a project application to Riksbankens Jubileumsfond. This is the English summary:

Resilience has become a buzzword in academic research since it integrates society, economy, and ecology. However, resilience perspectives have no room for improbable and unpredictable events (Black Swans), such as “collapses”. Black Swans are removed in resilience studies by inserting them into a predictable process, as the release stage in an ongoing adaptive cycle. Resilience is based on a naturalist ontology and when applied in social sciences it does not explain how individuals, groups, and greater collectives founded on other ontologies (worlds) behave towards Black Swans.

The project shall study how Black Swans, and responses to them, affect and are affected by dominant ontologies in local and regional collectives during the Anthropocene. These ontologies generate different archaeological assemblages. By studying spatiotemporal differences in these assemblages, before and after Black Swans, the project shall outline a development of ontologies related to these ends of worlds. The Maya worlds in southern Mexico and northern Central America provide ideal case studies since they experienced several Black Swans and different ontologies.

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