Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society

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Human Niche Construction


16.10.2015 – 17.10.2015

Location: Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society, LMU Munich

Conveners: Maurits Ertsen (Delft University of Technology), Edmund Russell (University of Kansas), Christof Mauch (Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society)

In changing their environment, organisms change themselves as well. So goes the niche construction theory, which originated from evolutionary biology. Human niche construction simply extends this argument to humans.
The central theme of the workshop is to understand the processes of change across four different dimensions:

1. The material environment modified by human agency;
2. Social arrangements—human responses to modified environments;
3. Genetic structure of the human species as a result of modified environments;
4. Genetic structure of non-humans as a result of human-modified environments.

The workshop will take well-studied processes of change as its starting point, such as the introduction of agriculture, and explore other shifts as suggested by participants.

The workshop is aimed at scholars from a number of disciplines. There is potential for both interdisciplinary engagement between different scholarly fields and discussions between representatives of these fields on what the concepts mean, how they can be used, and whether they make sense in the first place.

Selected papers will be published in the RCC in-house journal Perspectives: Transformations in Environment and Society in 2016.

Further information on the program can be found here.

Read the conference report here.


Submitted papers (for participants only; password protected)

Bello, David

Eriksson, Ove

Martin, Laura

Portera, Mariagrazia

Just, Michael

Kluiving, Sjoerd

LeCain, Tim

Ellis, Erle