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Shumon Hussain is currently Research Associate at MESH and affiliated with the HESCOR (Cultural Evolution in Changing Climate: Human and Earth System Coupled Research) project, where he works at the interface between the Environmental Humanities and deep-time archaeology. He pursues transdisciplinary scholarship on the confluence of the sciences and the humanities, contributing to an integrated archaeology of nature taking stock of the contemporary “Anthropocene” polycrisis. He is a Palaeolithic and Mesolithic archaeologist by training but his academic work is strongly influenced by anthropology, philosophy, STS, animal history, multispecies studies, critical theory and post-colonial studies as well as ecology and extended evolutionary thinking. Shumon is mainly interested in how foraging peoples of the deep past intersected with their heterogeneous natures, devised plurivocal worlds, and so framed non-analogous, alternative ways of inhabiting the Earth.

Shumon holds a BA in prehistoric archaeology and philosophy from the University of Tübingen, a MA in archaeology from the University of Cologne, and a PhD in World Archaeology (Human Origins) from the Faculty of Archaeology at Leiden University (2019). He was a visiting scholar in the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences at SUSTech, Shenzhen, People’s Republic of China in 2018, followed by a brief intermezzo as post-doctoral researcher at the CRC 806 “Our Way to Europe” of the University of Cologne in 2019. From fall 2019 to September 2023, he was Assistant Professor in the Department of Archaeology and Heritage Studies at Aarhus University, Denmark, with affiliations to the ERC CoG-project CLIOARCH (CLIOdynamic ARCHaeology: Computational approaches to Final Palaeolithic/earliest Mesolithic archaeology and climate change), BIOCHANGE (Center for Biodiversity Dynamics in a Changing World) and the Centre for Environmental Humanities (CEH). Since 2019, he is also a fellow of the “Young ZiF” (Junges ZiF) at the Center for Interdisciplinary Studies of the University of Bielefeld.

His expertise lies mainly with the Palaeoenvironmental Humanities, a precarious marriage of the palaeosciences and deep-time archaeology with the humanities of nature in order to pivot new questions and concepts on human-nature relationships taking into considering the more than 3 million years of human existence before the crystallization of settled life. As a specialist of Late Pleistocene and early Holocene stone artefact technologies and hunter-gatherer material culture more broadly, his research presently concerns three interrelated axes of past human and more-than-human world-making: 1) material and technical ecologies and the co-evolution of forager lifeways and early technospheres; 2) human-animal relationships and their generative sociomaterial dimensions (zoomateriality, zoovisuality, conviviality, etc.); and 3) complex inter-hominin topologies within worlds shared by multiple human forms. He adopts a conceptually unified multispecies approach that increasingly draws on ecocritical and decolonial vistas to unpack and map these constellations.

Contact: s.t.hussain[at]uni-koeln.de
Office: a.r.t.e.s. Graduate School for the Humanities, Aachener Str. 217, 50931 Cologne

Selected publications

Hussain, S.T. (2024). ‘Feral ecologies of the human deep past: multispecies archaeology and palaeo-synanthropy.’ Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute (JRAI), Early View, https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-9655.14152.

Hussain, S.T., and C. Baumann (2024). ‘The human side of biodiversity: coevolution of the human niche, palaeo-synanthropy and ecosystem complexity in the deep human past.’ Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B 379 (1902), https://doi.org/10.1098/rstb.2023.0021.

Hussain, S.T., and N. Brusgaard (2024). ‘Human-Beaver Cohabitation in the Early and Mid-Holocene of Northern Europe: Re-visiting Mesolithic Ecology and Material Culture through a Multispecies Lens.’ The Holocene. preprint.

Hussain, S.T., F. Riede, D.N. Matzig, M. Biard, P. Crombé, F. Fontana, D. Groß, T. Hess, M. Langlais, J. Fernández-Lopéz de Pablo, L. Mevel, W. Mills, M. Moník, N. Naudinot, C. Posch, T. Rimkus, D. Stefański, and H.Vandendriessche (accepted). ‘A pan-European dataset revealing variability in lithic technology, toolkits, and artefact shapes ~15-11 kya.’ Scientific Data 10: 593, https://doi.org/10.1038/s41597-023-02500-9.

Baumann, C., S.T. Hussain, M. Roblíčková, F. Riede, M.A. Mannino, H. Bocherens (2023). ‘Evidence for hunter-gatherer impacts on raven diet and ecology in the Gravettian of Southern Moravia.’ Nature Ecology & Evolution 7: 1302–1314, https://doi.org/10.1038/s41559-023-02107-8.  (shared first author)

Hussain, S.T., M. Weiss, and T. Kellberg Nielsen (2022). ‘Being-with Other Predators: Cultural negotiations of Neanderthal-carnivore relationships in Late Pleistocene Europe.’ Journal of Anthropological Archaeology 66: 101409, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jaa.2022.101409.

Hussain, S.T., and M. Will (2021). ‘Materiality, Agency and Evolution of Lithic Technology: An Integrated Perspective for Palaeolithic Archaeology.’ Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory 28: 617-670, https://doi.org/10.1007/s10816-020-09483-6.

Hussain, S.T., and F. Riede (2020). ‘Palaeoenvironmental humanities: challenges and prospects of writing deep environmental histories.’ WIREs Climate Change 11 (5): e667, https://doi.org/10.1002/wcc.667.