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Climate CulturesAnthropological Perspectives on Climate Change$
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Jessica Barnes and Michael R Dove

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780300198812

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300198812.001.0001

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Climate Shock and Awe

Climate Shock and Awe

Can There Be An “Ethno-Science” of Deep-Time Mande Palaeoclimate Memory?

(p.273) Chapter 11 Climate Shock and Awe
Climate Cultures

Roderick J. McIntosh

Yale University Press

One of the most intractable problems in archaeology is that of deep-time memory. There has not been an entirely happy history to the proposition that peoples can package, archive, and transmit an historical account of past episodes of stress and surprise (to their bio-physical or their social environments), including a “pro-active” calculus of how to assess and implement successful (or failed) responses in the, often remote, past. The Mande of arid West Africa (including the Sahel) live with precipitation and fluvialregimes that are arguably the least predictable in the world. Our understanding of the palaeoclimatic patterning and forcing mechanisms has improved greatly. Can one imagine an integrated historical “ethno-science” linking strong Mande beliefs and values to these deep-time lessons about the world in which their ancestors lived?

Keywords:   Holocene climate, Mande (peoples, West Africa), Ethnoscience of climate, memory and climate change, palaeo-climate, archaeology of climate change

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