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Anthropology Colloquium: Matthew Liebmann

Friday, March 9, 2018 at 3:00pm to 4:30pm

McGraw Hall, 165
740-750 University Ave, Ithaca, NY 14853, USA

Pueblo People, Franciscan Missionaries, and the Arrival of the “Refuse Wind”: Colonialism, Disease, and Demography in the Southwest U.S. 1540-1700

Co-Sponsored by Cornell Institute of Archaeology and Material Studies, and American Indian and Indigenous Studies Program.


Debates regarding the magnitude, tempo, and ecological effects of Native American population decline between 1492-1900 constitute some of the most contentious issues in American Indian history. Was depopulation rapid and catastrophic, with effects extensive enough to change even the earth’s atmosphere? Or was this decline more moderate, with numbers of Native Americans waning slowly after European colonization? The results of recent collaborative research among archaeologists, dendrochronologists, and tribal members from the Pueblo of Jemez in northern New Mexico present unanticipated results, with consequences that extend beyond the borders of the American Southwest to anthropological studies of colonialism more generally.

Matthew Liebmann is the John and Ruth Hazel Associate Professor of the Social Sciences at Harvard University.

About Professor Liebmann:  My primary research focuses on the archaeology of the Southwest U.S., with a specialization in the contact period and the historic-era Pueblos of New Mexico. I am particularly interested in the changes to Indigenous life that occurred during the 17th century following the arrival of Europeans in the northern Rio Grande region. More generally, my research interests include the archaeology of colonialism; revitalization movements; hybrid material culture; archaeologies of resistance; postcolonial theory; and NAGPRA.

Methodologically, I am committed to collaboration with descendant communities and improving relations among archaeologists and Native Americans. A vital component of my work entails collaboration with the Pueblo of Jemez (particularly the Jemez Department of Resource Protection), and I work with tribal members in the formulation of research designs, data collection, interpretation, and presentation of the final results. We tend to use non-invasive techniques as part of our research methods, and as a result I have developed a secondary interest in 'surface archaeology' and archaeological survey and mapping techniques that combine elements of large-scale, landscape archaeology with more traditional, site-based investigations.

Theoretically, my interests include postcolonialism; semiotics; Indigenous and collaborative archaeologies; and material culture theory/materiality.

Event Type



Anthropology, Cornell Institute of Archaeology and Material Studies (CIAMS)


cascal, anthro, anthro-colloquium, ciamscal, cashum, aip


Contact E-Mail

Contact Name

Liz Kirk

Contact Phone



Matthew Liebmann

Speaker Affiliation

Harvard University


A reception will follow the talk.

Open To

free and open to the public

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