H. Thomas Foster, II
My teaching and research use models of economic behavior to understand how humans react to and manage environmental and social variability and how those decisions in turn affect resources in the biophysical environment. As an archaeologist, I have been using the time depth of archaeological and historical data to test models about resilience and adaptation among the Native Americans of the southeastern United States in response to colonialism and ecological change. I have published this research in two books and in journals such as Human Ecology, Human Organization, American Antiquity, the Journal of Anthropological Archaeology, and the Journal of Anthropological Research.
I am currently working on a three year grant ($211,320) from NSF to identify the resilience of the Muscogee Creek people in the face of economic change and anthropogenic effects on their environment. This interdisciplinary project includes collaboration between The University of Tulsa, University of Arizona, Pennsylvania State University, Columbus State, University of West Florida, and the descendant communities. Understanding how human societies adapt to regime change and the long term effects of those changes on ecosystems is an important line of research for modern environmental managers and policy makers.
My specialty in anthropogenic and historical ecology has developed into a unique application of anthropology research. I have published on the use of archaeological information for modern environmental management and I serve as co-chair of the steering committee for Past Global Changes in the International Geosphere Biosphere Programme (IGBP) which is funded by the NSF in the United States and Switzerland. I am working with the IGBP to inform international policy and research on environmental changes.
Education and Degrees Earned
- Ph.D.(Anthropology), The Pennsylvania State University
- M.A. (Anthropology), The Pennsylvania State University
- B. A. (Anthropology), University of Georgia
Areas of Academic Specialty
Archaeology, Native Americans of the Southeastern United States, Anthropogenic ecology, GIS, Heritage management
Areas of Research Focus
Native Americans of the Southeastern United States, Anthropogenic ecology, GIS, modeling, Heritage management, curation, risk management
Previous Teaching Experience
- The University of West Georgia
- Northern Kentucky University
- Pennsylvania State University
- Elizabethtown College
Previous Relevant Work Experience
- 2008-2012 Assistant Professor of Anthropology, Department of Anthropology, University of West Georgia
- 2008-2012 Director, Antonio J. Waring, Jr. Archaeological Laboratory, University of West Georgia
- 2005-2008 Lecturer, Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Philosophy, Northern Kentucky University
- 2004-2005 Associate Director of Cultural Resources, BHE Environmental, Inc.
- 2001-2004 Senior Archaeologist, Panamerican Consultants, Inc.
- 1998-2001 Research Associate, Oak Ridge Laboratories, Oak Ridge, Tennessee
- 1996-2001 Instructor, Department of Anthropology, Pennsylvania State University
- 1999 Instructor, Elizabethtown College, Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania
- American Association for the Advancement of Science
- American Anthropological Association (Life)
- Society for American Archaeology
- Southeastern Archaeological Conference (Life)
- Society for Georgia Archaeology
- Georgia Council of Professional Archaeologists
- International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme - Past Global Changes