Settlement Demography (3) Examination of the demography and ecology of human settlement systems in the preindustrial past.
ANTH 412 Settlement Demography (3)
This seminar will examine the population dynamics of human settlement systems in preindustrial societies, living, historic, and prehistoric. The focus will be on subsistence-level agrarian settlements, but some attention will also be paid to settlement patterns in hunter-gatherers, in market economics, and in complex societies. After reviewing basic assumptions and problems of working with spatial data, the course will examine processes determining settlement size, composition, and location on the micro-level (i.e. that of individual households, farmsteads, hamlets, and villages) and then pass on to regional patterns of transport, migration, and defense. The processes of site colonization, settlement expansion and contraction, site abandonment, and re-colonization will all be considered in detail. Since human settlements are always non-randomly distributed across spatially-heterogeneous landscapes, some basic landscape ecology will be presented in the course. Some fundamentals of geostatistical analysis will also be taught, although the course is not intended to be a survey of quantitative geography or spatial analysis. Rather, it is designed to be a more specialized follow-up to ANTH 408 (Anthropological Demography); the new course builds upon the basic explored in ANTH 408 by extending them into the spatial domain. During the last quarter of the semester, students will split into 2-3 teams, each of which will re-analyze settlement data from a region and time period of its choice for presentation to the rest of the class. The proposed course will provide 3 elective credits toward the undergraduate major and minor, and will be open to graduate students as well. The overall aim is to produce scholars who can think in creative ways about the dynamics of settlement systems in their own reading and research. The course should be of interest to archaeologists, anthropological demographers, ethnologists, and other students interested in human population science, especially as it relates to preindustrial society.
Note : Class size, frequency of offering, and evaluation methods will vary by location and instructor. For these details check the specific course syllabus.