hrafARC Projects

Response to Shocks and Hazards Associated with Climate (2022-2025)

It is widely acknowledged that shocks—particularly those affecting food supplies, livelihoods and lives—pose threats to any social group. Given increased severity, frequency and even unpredictability of climate-related hazards around the world, it becomes vital to understand how groups establish practices that enhance resilience to shocks.  We will examine the cultural features associated with resilience in around 150 societies during the past two centuries. We will characterize the dimensions of shocks faced by society (i.e., quick vs. slow onset, frequency, predictability, severity) and assess societies for absorptive, adaptive and transformative resilience based on wellbeing.  Findings on the cultural consequences of shocks along with related resilience will be further explored through mathematical models plus through in-depth case studies of how societies have dealt with the different dimensions of shocks. Award notification

iKLEWS (2021-2023)

iKLEWS (Infrastructure for Knowledge Linkages from Ethnography of World Societies) is a HRAF project funded by the National Science Foundation. iKLEWS will create semantic infrastructure and associated computer services for a growing textual database (eHRAF World Cultures). The basic goal is to greatly expand the value of eHRAF World Cultures to users who seek to understand the range of possibilities for human understanding, knowledge, belief and behaviour with respect to real-world problems we face today, such as: climate change; violence; disasters; epidemics; hunger; and war. Understanding how and why cultures vary in the range of possible outcomes in similar circumstances is critical to improving policy, applied science, and basic scientific understandings of the human condition... Read more...

Presentation: Ethnographic Data Science: New Approaches to Comparative Research ... Mike Fischer, Shridhar Ravula, Francine Barone

Social Resilience to Nuclear Winter. (2018-2020)

This project employs archaeological and historical information to examine societal resilience to a catastrophic atmospheric event that block the sun and cooled the Northern Hemisphere by roughly 1 degree centigrade, creating widespread social disruption.  Peregrine uses this event as a proxy for the expected atmospheric impact of a limited nuclear war in Europe and seeks to identify strategies of resilience by examining those societies that survived, and failed to survive, the A.D. 536 event.  Read more...

Natural Hazards and Cultural Transformations. (2015-2019)

Researchers from cultural anthropology, archaeology, psychology, geography and climatology conducted three types of comparisons--a worldwide cross-cultural comparison using ethnographic data, an diachronic archaeological comparison of 32 traditions before and after major severe climate events, and a comparison of countries.  We are looking at a broad variety of possible cultural transformations in response to hazards.  These range from diet and subsistence diversity, property systems, mutual aid, political economy, general cultural “tightness" and beliefs about gods involvement with weather.  All of these domains have been newly coded for this project.   Read more ...

Presentation: Adapting to the New Era of Intangible Cultural Heritage by using Metadata ... Mike Fischer


(This video is hosted on YouTube)

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