Event: Pizza Talk: "Moving Agriculture onto the Roof of the World"

Date & Time

February 28, 2018 - 12:00pm to 1:00pm

Contact Information

Matthew Swanson
Phone 310-825-4169


Fowler A222

Event Type

Pizza Talk

Event Details

Speaker: Dr. Jade d'Alpoim Guedes, Assistant Professor, Department of Anthropology, UC San Diego

Research on agriculture's spread in East Asia has followed an underlying assumption: that farming produced equally reliable returns across the vast expanse of territories into which it spread and always placed farmers at a demographic advantage. Significant ecological barriers to growing crops on the Tibetan Plateau meant that the opposite was true. Using ecological niche modeling to illuminate how foragers and farmers interacted in environments marginal to crop cultivation, this paper demonstrates that the higher elevation reaches of the “third pole” constituted a barrier for expanding millet farmers. In these areas foragers maintained a competitive advantage.  Following the end of the climatic optimum, decreasing temperatures effectively ended millet farmer’s expansion. It was only following the introduction of a suite of new crops and animals that the Tibetan economy as we know it today was able to flourish, but also that pastoralists and farmers finally began to truly encroach on forager territory.