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02/06/2023 - 02/06/2023 | Kiel

How History Matters

On February 6, Gary Feinman (MacArthur Curator of Mesoamerican, Central American, and East Asian Anthropology at the Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago, USA) talks on “Rethinking Premodern Governance and Inequality”

Archaeology has learned a lot empirically over the last 50 years, but concepts and presumptions about human groups and how they organize politically stem from the mid-20th century and, in a sense, the century before that with focus on two big ideas, classification and evolution (progress), as well as a strong emphasis on uniformity and linearity. Science has, however, collected enough data to reassess and evaluate these long-standing tenets and assumptions. 

In a public lecture on 6 February 2023, Gary Feinman, MacArthur Curator of Mesoamerican, Central American, and East Asian Anthropology at the Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago, USA, presents new concepts and ideas on premodern governance and inequality. 

Since early November 2022, US archaeologist Gary Feinman is the holder of the Johanna Mestorf Acadamy (JMA) chair of the Cluster of Excellence ROOTS at Kiel University. While in Kiel, Gary Feinman collaborates with colleagues in ROOTS and in particular with the subcluster “Roots of Inequalities” 

Feinman received his B.A. in Anthropology at the University of Michigan and received his Ph.D. in Anthropology from City University of New York-Graduate Center in 1980. In his scientific work, he has specialized in the study of complex human societies – how and why they arose, the different ways they were organized and changed over time, and how the economies of these ancient social formations were underpinned and interrelated with their political and social institutions.

Feinman is also the founding and contact co-editor of the Journal of Archaeological Research, which is the top-ranked journal based on Impact Factor in Archaeology and Anthropology. He also is an Editorial Board member of Human Ecology and Cross-Cultural Research and a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. For his work he received the Presidential Recognition Award from the Society for American Archaeology.

The lecture on 6 February is part of the Public Lecture Series by JMA-Chairs. It provides novel research perspectives to unveil interwoven past social, environmental, and cultural phenomena, shedding light on the ‘roots’ of current socio-environmental challenges and crises. Leading international experts joining the Cluster of Excellence as JMA Chairs give insight into their research, enhancing ROOTS large interdisciplinary initiative.

Information on participating / attending:


02/06/2023 16:00 - 02/06/2023 18:00

Event venue:

CAP3 / Hörsaal 3
Christian-Albrechts-Platz 3
24118 Kiel

Target group:

Scientists and scholars, all interested persons

Email address:



Subject areas:

History / archaeology

Types of events:

Presentation / colloquium / lecture




Jan Steffen


Media and Public Outreach

Event is free:


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URL of this event:

attachment icon Gary Feinman


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