John Walter Schoenfelder
Ph.D. UCLA, 2003
308 Charles E Young Dr. North
A210 Fowler Building/Box 951510
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1510
Indo-Pacific pre- and protohistory, complex adaptive systems, causality in social change, ethnohistory, complex heterogeneity, agricultural technology, sources of legitimacy, and functions of religion and cosmology.
Recent ethnographic and computer work by the ethnographer Stephen Lansing suggests that a process of self-organization could have been responsible for the emergence of Bali's yield-enhancing autonomous "complex adaptive system" of agromanagerial water temples. In my dissertation I evaluate the possibility that 19th century Bali's ritual-focused Hindu polities and highly "heterarchical" organizational patterns may in part have been results of self-organization processes which occurred among community irrigation societies. I examine this possibility by tracing the spread of irrigated rice agriculture through time, using archaeological site distributions and analyses of extant canals and paddy field systems as my guides. Compiling and synthesizing the required data will substantially improve our knowledge of Balinese culture history over the past two millennia; on a more theoretical level, I am investigating the plausibility of a picture of the past in which, through the self-organization of new institutions, whole societies can be transformed by changes in the interaction patterns among agents in a single sector -- the agricultural sector in this case, though not perhaps in all.
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