Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research on Innovative Areas (2019-2023)

Integrative Human Historical Science of "Out of Eurasia"
Exploring the Mechanisms of the Development of Civilization


B01 Sociocultural mechanisms underlying niche construction based on ethnographic research


Principal Investigator
Hideyuki Onishi (Doshisha Women's College of Liberal Arts)
Tetsuya Inamura (The Open University of Japan)
Hironao Kawai (Tokyo Metropolitan University, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences)
Yumi Kimura (Graduate School of Human Sciences, Osaka University)
Hiromu Shimizu (Faculty of Policy Studies, Kansai University)
Kazuhiro Suda (Faculty of Humanities, Hokkai-Gakuen University)
Kazunobu Ikeya (Modern Society and Civilization, National
Museum of Ethnology)
Masanori Goto (Slavic-Eurasia Research Center, Hokkaido University)
Keiichi Omura (Faculty of Liberal Arts, The Open University of Japan)
Ikuro Shimizu (Architecture and Building Engineering, Sibaura
Institute of Technology)
Henry Stewart (Faculty of Liberal Arts, The Open University of Japan)
Taro Yamauchi (Graduate School of Health Science, Hokkaido University)
Norio Yamamoto (National Museum of Ethnology)
Miguel Aguilera (Arizona State University)
Research Associate
Asami Tsukuda(Doshisha Women's College of Liberal Arts)

Research outline

The aim of this group is to examine the various cognitive and behavioral abilities achieved by modern humans through ethnographic research on mainly indigenous societies on the American continent and in Oceania as new frontiers after the "Out of Eurasia" event. These frontiers under consideration also include the high latitude zones of Northeastern Asia and coastal and islands regions of Southeastern Asia as significant places related to this event.

In particular, this group focuses on “body” and “landscape” as key concepts in this research, and investigates subsistence strategies maintained by indigenous groups as adaptations to their environment based on physiological basis, knowledge and technological systems, supernatural cosmology, etc. Additionally, this research will elucidate indigenous patterns of cognition and behaviors constructed in “Umwelt” which is a hybrid produced by the relationship between the human body and natural cultural landscapes, including artificial spaces and symbolic worlds concerned with subsistence strategies.

As a result of these studies, this group will clarify the niche-construction abilities of modern humans, which resulted not only in adaptation to various natural environments during the "Out of Eurasia" process, but also the development of civilization.