Professor J. Stephen Lansing co-directs the Complexity Institute, as well as is the Faculty Associate Chair for Asian School of the Environment at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. He is also an external professor at the Santa Fe Institute, birthplace of complexity theory, an emeritus professor of anthropology at the University of Arizona, and a senior research fellow at the Stockholm Resilience Centre. Before moving to Arizona in 1998, Lansing held joint appointments at the University of Michigan in the School of Natural Resources & Environment and the Department of Anthropology, and earlier chaired the anthropology department of the University of Southern California.
In the 1980’s, Lansing and ecologist James Kremer showed that Balinese water temple networks can self-organize. Later research showed that over the centuries, water temple networks expanded to manage the ecology of rice terraces at the scale of whole watersheds. In 2012, Bali’s water temple networks were recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage. As the pieces of the water temple story were falling into place, Lansing became interested in self-organizing processes elsewhere in the archipelago. In 2000 he began to work with Indonesian geneticists, linguists and public health officials to study the co-evolution of social structure, language change and disease resistance on fourteen Indonesian islands. Recent publications and films are available at www.slansing.org.