UMMAA is pleased to welcome Dr. Shane Miller, associate professor in the Department of Anthropology and Middle Eastern Cultures at Mississippi State University, who will present the Jeffrey R. Parsons Lecture 2023: "Self-Destructive Zones: What Archaeology Tells Us about the Future Risks of Floods, Forest Fires, and Droughts in Southern Appalachia." The lecture will take place on Friday, April 14, 12-1:30 p.m., in the School of Education Building, Room 2327.

Since the Great Depression, the major river valleys of southern Appalachia have seen explosive population growth and economic development, and the region is now synonymous with hydro-electric dams, coal-fired power plants, agriculture, and now eco-tourism, retirement communities, and revitalized, trendy cities. However, like many regions of North America, there is growing concern about the impact of climate change, and in particular costly disasters caused by floods, forest fires, and droughts. Using theory derived from historical ecology and the sociology of disasters, I argue that people are not passive actors in this narrative, and that a review of the rich archaeological record of the region illustrates that the growth machine of capitalism has created self-destructive zones where disasters don’t just happen, they should be expected.

This lecture is free and open to the public.