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October 21st NYAS Distinguished Lecture: Urban Centers:Suprisingly Sustainable?

NEW YORK ACADEMY OF SCIENCES, ANTHROPOLOGY SECTION

www.nycanthropology.org

2019-2020 DISTINGUISHED LECTURER SERIES: 
SUSTAINABLE HUMANITY: SOCIAL, POLITICAL, AND ECOLOGICAL CONSIDERATIONS

URBAN CENTERS: SURPRISINGLY SUSTAINABLE?

Monica L. Smith
Professor, Department of Anthropology
Institute of the Environment and Sustainability at UCLA

Monday, October 21, 2019
Dinner at 5:45 pm - Talk at 6:30 pm
Roosevelt House
47-49 E. 65th St. New York, NY 10065 (Hunter College)

Discussant:
Richard Leventhal
Executive Director of the Penn Cultural Heritage Center
Professor, Department of Anthropology, University of Pennsylvania

Abstract:

Cities are paradoxically resilient: even the ones that eventually failed in
ancient times were occupied for hundreds of years, and even the
most fragile modern ones continue to be inhabited. Using an archaeological
perspective, this lecture will examine the many ways in which
ancient cities constituted resilient social and economic networks that
provide a blueprint for our own sustainable futures. Such futures are
not unproblematic, of course, because cities necessarily draw in food,
water, and raw materials from the countryside. Urbanites’ comfortable
assurance of resiliency can mask a neglect of rural needs and realities,
resulting in significant and sometimes deleterious social, economic,
and political consequences.

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