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Sander E. van der Leeuw

Ph.D., University of Amsterdam, 1976
Professor and Director of the School of Human Evolution and Global Change at ASU

Office : ISTB1 402
E-mail
Phone : 480-965-6215
Fax : 480-965-7671
Webpage : http://www.public.asu.edu/~svanderle

Core Scholarly Themes: The Dynamics of Societies and their Environments.

Research Interests: Van Der Leeuw’s research interests are in the study of long-term dynamics of socio-environmental systems, reconstruction of ancient technologies, (ancient and modern) regional man-land relationships, GIS and modeling. Since 1981, he has worked on applying Complex Systems Theory in various ways in all these domains.

From 1992, he has co-ordinated of a series of major research projects financed by the European Union in the area of socio-natural interactions and environmental problems. Among these projects are ARCHAEOMEDES I (1992-1994) and II (1996-1999), concerned with understanding and modeling the natural and anthropogenic causes of desertification, land degradation and land abandonment and their spatial manifestations, using the Complex Systems approach. Up to 65 researchers from 11 European institutions were involved, which included disciplines from Physics, Mathematics and Computing, via Geology, Hydrology and the Life Sciences to Sociology, Social Anthropology, History and Archaeology. The fieldwork spanned all the countries along the northern Mediterranean rim. The “Environmental Communication” project (1996-8) studied the difficulties of communication between scientists and decision-makers, while the MODULUS project (1997-1999) modeled land-use decision making from a complex systems perspective. The ISCOM project (The Information Society as a Complex System, 2003-2006) investigated the relationship between innovation and urban dynamics.

In (1999-2001), he directed a project in the framework of the program Politiques Publiques et Paysages of the French Ministry of the Environment, on the relationship between regional identity, history and the landscape in Eastern France. In July 2001, he was appointed Secretary-General of the French Conseil national de Coordination des Sciences de l'Homme et de la Société (National Council for the Coordiantion of the Humanities and Social Sciences). This was followed by an appointment as Deputy Director for Social Sciences at the CNRS (2002-2003) and at the National Institute for the Sciences of the Universe, in charge of a program similar to the Long Term Ecological Research program in the US.

About Teaching: An archaeologist and historian by training, he did archaeological and or anthropological fieldwork in Syria, Holland, France, Mexico and the Philippines. After teaching appointments at Leyden, Amsterdam, Cambridge (UK) and Paris (Panthéon-Sorbonne) he is presently Director of the School of Human Evolution & Social Change at Arizona State University. He is an External Professor at the Santa Fe Institute (USA), a Correspondent of the Royal Dutch Academy of Arts and Sciences, and holds a Chair at the Institut Universitaire de France. He has held visiting positions at the University of Michigan, the University of Reading (UK), Australian National University, the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, and the Santa Fe Institute, and has lectured in many parts of the world.

Selected Publications:

(ed., with C. Lévèque), Quelles natures voulons nous ? Pour une approche socio-écologique du champ de l’environnement. Paris: Elsevier(2003).

(ed., with F. Favory and J.-L. Fiches) Archéologie et systèmes socio-environnementaux: études multiscalaires sur la vallée du Rhône dans le programme ARCHAEOMEDES Valbonne : presses du CNRS (Monographies du CRA)(2003).

The Archaeomedes Project - Understanding the natural and anthropogenic causes of land degradation and desertification in the Mediterranean. Luxemburg: Office for Official Publications of the European Union(1998).

(with D. Pumain et al.) Des Oppida aux métropoles Paris : Anthropos (Collection Villes)(1998).

Archaeology: Time, Process and Structural Transformations (ed., with J. McGlade), Routledge's, London.(1997).

(ed.). L'Homme et la dégradation de l'environnement. Antibes : APDCA (Actes du XVe Colloque international d'archéologie et d'histoire d'Antibes)(1995).