Disaster, Technology, and Community: Measuring Responses to Smallpox Epidemics in Historic Hidatsa Villages, North Dakota
AuthorHollenback, Kacy LeAnne
AdvisorZedeño, Maria Nieves
Schiffer, Michael Brian
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractDisasters are prevalent phenomena in the human experience and have played a formative role in shaping world cultures. Contemporary and popular conceptions of disasters as events, such as hurricanes, droughts, or earthquakes, fail to fully capture the social dimensions of these complex processes. Building on theoretical models and research in sociology, geography, and anthropology, this research explores one community's experience with and reaction to disaster over the longer-term--primarily through the lens of archaeology. The anthropology of disaster recognizes that these processes have the potential to affect every facet of human life, including biological, technological, ritual, political, social, and economic aspects of a society. How groups react to and cope with these processes dramatically shapes their cultural histories and in some instances their cultural identities. Using theoretical assumptions from the anthropology of technology, my research explores the social impacts of disaster at community and sub-community levels by drawing on method, theory, and information from across subdisciplinary boundaries to incorporate archaeological, ethnohistoric, and ethnographic datasets to better understand the entire disaster process or cycle. Specifically, I investigate how Hidatsa potters located near the Knife River of North Dakota responded to the smallpox epidemics of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and how these women maintained or modified their daily practice in light of these catastrophes. In addition, I examine oral tradition and contemporary discourse on these subjects to explore the lasting legacies and impacts of catastrophe. The objective of my research is to contribute new theory to the anthropology of disaster by examining disasters over the long-term, investigating the relationship between disaster and motivations for the production or reproduction of material culture--the focus of most archaeological studies--and by exploring the role of materiality and traditional technology in coping strategies.
Degree ProgramGraduate College