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Shumon Tobias Hussain

PhD, Assistant Professor

Shumon Tobias Hussain

Research interests and topics

I have a broad set of research interests but generally specialize into Palaeolithic archaeology. I was originally trained in the analysis of Middle and Upper Palaeolithic stone artefact technologies and have conducted archaeological fieldwork in Europe, Arabia and Western Asia. My research focuses on key behavioural transitions, thresholds and regime shifts in early human evolution, such as the Middle-to-Upper Palaeolithic transition in Western Eurasia or the momentous passage from the Pleistocene to the Holocene. My approach to the past is transdisciplinary and my ambition is to balance and ultimately bridge scientific and humanistic understandings of human beginnings. I currently work on questions of deep time and an extended theory of long-term technological evolution. I am also interested in the emerging field of Human-Animal Studies and the potential of extending its perspective substantially back in time. One of the ambitious goals of this enterprise is to render human origins research more relevant for present-day ecological concerns and to join forces with as well as contribute to the now well-established Environmental Humanities. Lastly, my vision of research and intellectuality revolves around reflexivity and epistemological awareness. I continue to be engaged with foundational research-historical and epistemological questions and at present investigate the status, significance and interoperability of cultural taxonomies in the European Final Palaeolithic.

Keywords: Middle Palaeolithic; Upper Palaeolithic; Final Palaeolithic; lithic technology; biocultural evolution; human-animal studies; materiality; visual culture; human-environment interaction; epistemology

Teaching: I am currently involved in the following teaching initiatives:

  • Introduction to the Stone Age (Spring)
  • Archaeology of Conflict (Spring)
  • Humanities in the Anthropocene: Environment and Society (Spring)
  • What makes us Human? (Spring)
  • Theoretical Perspectives in Archaeology (Autumn)
  • Introduction to Human-Animal Studies (Autumn, pending)

Supervision: I am especially interested in advising students who intend to dedicate themselves to the study of Pleistocene and early Holocene human-animal relationships, theoretical questions of lithic technology and technological evolution, hominin landscape archaeology, the analysis and interpretation of mobile and parietal art from the Palaeolithic or to basic issues of archaeological epistemology. I am generally open to supervise any well-grounded Middle and Upper Palaeolithic topic, however, and warmly encourage interested students to approach me. I am also eager to co-supervise interdisciplinary research topics beyond the scope of traditional archaeological approaches.

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