Stephen H. Lekson

Visiting Research Associate


The Southwest in the World

Stephen H. LeksonStephen H. LeksonVisiting Research AssociateStephen H. LeksonVisiting Research Associate

For the past three decades, American archaeology has been wrought with tensions separating science and the humanities. Stephen Lekson will be completing a two-book program in which he examines the intersection of science and the humanities while using Southwestern archaeology as a laboratory. The first book, A History of the Ancient Southwest, published by SAR Press in 2009, focused on ways in which Southwestern archaeology can make contributions to questions of general scholarly interest at the national and global levels. The second book of this series, “The Southwest in the World,” will interrogate that newly minted history from the perspectives of science and social science, completing a methodological experiment to define new limits for American archaeology.

Lekson has identified eight themes of scientific and social scientific interest that he will address in “The Southwest in the World.” These include: scalar thresholds, which suggest a demographic threshold for the emergence of socio-political complexity; urbanism; secondary states, insofar as they exist as peripheries of the primary states; political cycling, which entails short- and long-term repeated cross-cultural trends in political and economic development; war and violence; comparative religions and the evolution of religions; human-environmental interactions; and societal collapse. Each thematic chapter will include an exploration of its specific theme in trans-disciplinary discourse, a discussion of the theme’s history within the realm of Southwestern archaeology, a sharpening of the theme as it specifically pertains to data available for the Southwest, an evaluation of data, and conclusions.

Affiliation at time of award:
Curator and Professor, Museum of Natural History and Department of Anthropology, University of Colorado, Boulder

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