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Ecologies, Resilience and Change

Ecologies, Resilience and Change

This cluster explores humans’ relationships with each other and other life forms across time and space that both serve humans and sometimes result in disruptions or catastrophic changes to ecological systems and environments. 


We also examine social movements of resistance that may bring change to human environments. Global research areas include climate change, food systems, and social and political organization or upheaval.


Aubrey Cannon


Chester New Hall (CNH) 508 


Tel: (905) 525-9140, ext. 23912 


I have conducted zooarchaeological research focused on fishing and shellfish gathering subsistence economies. The results highlight elements of resource management strategies and adjustments to environmentally induced shifts in resource availability on the Pacific Northwest Coast and the variability and long-term stability of reef fisheries in the Pacific Island Kingdom of Tonga. My works shows the nature and extent of stability and resilience in long-term human-environment relationships.

Dawn Martin-Hill

Associate Professor 

Chester New Hall, Room 538 


Tel: (905) 525-9140, ext. 27605 


Dawn Martin-Hill (Mohawk, Wolf Clan) holds a PhD in Cultural Anthropology and is one of the original founders of the Indigenous Studies Program at McMaster University. She is the recipient of a US-Canada Fulbright award, Outstanding Teaching Award from the Aboriginal Institutes Consortium, and she has received grants from SSHRC, CIHR and the Ontario Trillium Foundation. Her research includes: Indigenous knowledge & cultural conservation, Indigenous women, traditional medicine and health and the contemporary practice of Indigenous traditionalism. She is Co-PI on a CIHR-IAPH funded NEAHR grant (Network Environments in Aboriginal Health Research), the Indigenous Health Research Development Program (IHDRP).

Shanti Morell-Hart

Associate Professor 

Chester New Hall, Room 534 


Tel: (905) 525-9140, ext. 23909 


Shanti Morell-Hart investigates ancient human-environmental dynamics and their translation into contemporary narratives about sustainability, resilience, and collapse. Her published research primarily addresses ethnoecology in ancient Mesoamerica, with a focus on ancient Maya, Zapotec, and Mixtec communities. She is Director of the McMaster Paleoethnobotanical Research Facility (MPERF), a center of study into ancient ecologies and environmental change over time.

Hendrik Poinar


Chester New Hall (CNH), Room 537 


Tel: (905) 525-9140, ext. 26331 


Hendrik Poinar and his group are interested in illuminating human and animal migrations into and across the American continents (South and North) through the terminal Pleistocene and into the Holocene. We are interested in how large mammals (mammoths, sloths, horse and bison) as well as first peoples  moved across space and responded to glacial, interglacial cycling especially during the Pleistocene/Holocene transition. At the tail end of the Pleistocene, as the continent adjusted to massive climate oscillations, nearly 80% of all large mammals went extinct. To what degree did climate and environmental feedback drive these extinctions as well as the interaction with migrating peoples and a rapidly changing environment? Fortunately, these migration and extinction events as well as environmental landscapes can be reconstructed using animal, plant and microbial DNA data extracted from macro, micro and trace-fossils as well as sedimentary DNA remains in highly specialized clean labs here at McMaster University.

Kee Yong

Associate Professor 

Chester New Hall, Room 535 


Tel: (905) 525-9140, ext. 23907 


Kee Yong’s background is on the ethnography of the nation-state, with an emphasis on the memory literature, conflict, migration, and the legality and legitimation of the modern state. Drawing on these complementary theoretical currents, Kee has done research on communism and the sacrificed of the Chinese Hakkas in Cold and post-Cold War Sarawak and on the recurring conflict in Muslim majority provinces in Thailand’s far south. His research on Sarawak and Thailand’s far south focuses on the relationship between the construction of minorities – and thus majority – and on issues on violence, history, memory, forgetting, silencing, economics, and political formations. Kee Yong is currently working on a collaborative project, one that seeks to understand analytically the potential geopolitical and economic realignment under China’s Belt and Road Initiatives (BRI) across the World Of Ocean Shores, referring here to Southeast Asia and the Indian Ocean that encompasses parts of East Africa and the Middle East.

Affiliated Courses

1AA3: Sex, Food and Death

2AN3: Food and Nutrition
2CA3: Archaeology of Environmental Crisis & Response
2EO3: Intro to Biological Anthropology
2FF3: Skeletal Biology & Bioarchaeology
2FO3: Intro to Cultural Anthropology
2OO3: Themes in the Archaeological History of North America
2PA3: Intro to Anthropological Archaeology

3AS3: Archaeology and Society
3BB3: Paleoethnobotany
3CO3: Health and Environment
3EM3: Current Debates in Eastern Mediterranean Prehistory
3PP3: Paleopathology
3XO3: Zooarchaeology
3KO3: Archaeological Interpretation
3FFF3: Key Debates in Andean Archaeology

4EE3: Archaeology In (And Of) the Present
4HF3: Archaeology of Hunter-Fisher-Gatherers
4KK3: Archeology of Neanderthals and Other Early Hominids
4RO3: Advanced Skeletal Biology
4CC3: Archaeology of Foodways

720: Politics of Desire
733: Archaeologies of Identity
734: Indigenous Knowledge
741: Metabolic Disease
743: Anthropolology of Space, Place, and Landscape
786: Global Futures

Research Programs

Research Clusters

While the department covers four main Research Programs (sub-fields) in Anthropology, we also integrate these Research Programs in six key areas of expertise and investigation: Art and New Materialisms; Ecologies, Resilience and Change; Embodiment, Health and Wellbeing; Foodways, Diet and Nutrition; Heritage, History and Memory; and Migrations, Displacements and Violence. 


Art and New Materialisms 

Embodiment, Health and Wellbeing 

Foodways, Diet and Nutrition 

Heritage, History and Memory 

Migrations, Displacements and Violence