Department Seminar Series, "Domesticating Plants or Domesticating Ourselves? A New Approach to the Origin of Rice Farming in China", a talk by Jiajing Wang (Dartmouth)


Thursday, October 6, 2022, 3:00pm to 4:30pm


Tozzer 203, or via Zoom


"Domesticating Plants or Domesticating Ourselves?

A New Approach to the Origin of Rice Farming in China"

a talk by,

Jiajing Wang

(Dartmouth University)


ABSTRACT     The transition to agriculture, characterized by plant domestication, is one of the most consequential events in human history. Despite more than two decades of extensive research, it remains unclear how and why rice domestication originated in the Lower Yangtze River of China. This presentation offers a new approach to explaining this transition by proposing a dialectical model of domestication. Challenging traditional explanations that attribute the rise of agriculture to human interventions on the environment, this research instead explores how the active agencies exercised by plants and tools resulted in the domestication of humans, a process in which humans became dependent on tools and trapped into a sedentary lifestyle, thereby foreshadowing the rise of rice agriculture.

BIO     Jiajing (JJ) Wang is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Anthropology at Dartmouth College. She is an environmental archaeologist whose research interests include the origins and spread of agriculture, food and cuisines, and cultural interactions in prehistoric China. She studies these topics by applying methods in paleoethnobotany, use-wear analysis, and experimental archaeology. Her recent research projects include the origins of rice farming in China, prehistoric fermentation technologies, and foodways in Chinese diasporic communities in North America.

Location: Tozzer 203

45 minute talk

20 minute Q&A

Start: 3:00 p.m.

Please email prior to September 8, 2022 to request the link to Zoom if you did not receive through mailing list. Click on hyperlink at top right of webpage to subscribe to Harvard Archaeology Seminar Series.