I have heard the department is interested in students to work on climate, history, and society with professors Mike Hulme and George Adamson, so I am posting the following fellowship opportunity:
London Arts and Humanities Partnership is pleased to invite applications from outstanding candidates for AHRC/LAHP Doctoral Training Awards for 2014-15 entry. Up to 80 studentships are available for postgraduate research students studying Arts & Humanities at University College London, King’s College London, or School of Advanced Study (University of London) from London Arts & Humanities Partnership (AHRC Doctoral Training Partnership) 2014.
The Department of Geography at King’s College London invites applications for +3 PhD studentships. The main areas of interest include: Cultural Geography, Development Geography, Historical Geography, Political Geography, and Urban Geography. We welcome student proposals which relate in particular to the following themes: climate history and culture; sexuality and space; migration, race and cities; development geographies and patterns of consumption; post-colonial geographies; geopolitics; cultural geographies of the built environment; heritage; historical geographies of welfare; visual culture and cities. Applications encompassing an interdisciplinary aspect are particularly welcomed. Proposals must fall under the subject areas supported by the LAHP, available here: http://www.lahp.ac.uk/studentships
Studentships are available to applicants living in the UK and the European Union. For full details on eligibility, and to apply, please visit: http://www.lahp.ac.uk/studentships
Candidates are encouraged to explore the details of the department’s research interests in more detail here: http://www.kcl.ac.uk/sspp/departments/geography/research/index.aspx Applicants are strongly encouraged to contact potential supervisors in the Department as early as possible to discuss their research proposal.
The deadline for all scholarship applications is: 17.00 GMT, 31 January 2014. Applicants with a Masters degree (or currently studying for a Masters qualification) will be prioritised. To be considered for an award, candidates must also have applied to study at King’s College London, including providing two academic references. Further details, guidance notes and the application form can be found at: http://www.kcl.ac.uk/sspp/departments/geography/study/phd/Howtoapply.aspx Within the Department of Geography, enquiries should be directed to Dr Debby Potts, Postgraduate Research Admissions Tutor, (email@example.com)
A study out in Science this week by Mitchell et al. (see also accompanying news article) measures the differences between methane levels in Arctic and Antarctic ice cores over the late Holocene, and builds a model to test whether those differences are likely natural or anthropogenic. They conclude that higher concentrations of methane in the Northern Hemisphere over the last few millennia must come in large part from human activities, particularly paddy rice agriculture. Although the authors don’t discuss it, the data in Mitchell et al. also point to a substantial drop in the difference between Northern and Southern Hemisphere methane concentrations around 1400AD, pointing to the impact of the Black Death and possibly Little Ice Age on rice farming.
The study lends some support to William Ruddiman’s controversial thesis that humans have substantially influenced global climate for perhaps 7000 years. In essence, Ruddiman’s 2005 book Plows Plagues and Petroleum (which I reviewed a few years ago) argued that based on past glacial cycles, atmospheric methane and carbon dioxide should have started falling millennia ago. The reason they did not is human farming and forest clearance, which released those greenhouse gasses. In the wake of the Black Death and die-off of most Amerindians from Eurasian diseases, farming and burning retreated, contributing to a drop in CH4 and CO2 and exacerbating the early modern Little Ice Age. In recent years, the thesis has gathered some modest empirical support (particularly regarding the impacts of the Columbian Exchange on land use — see Dull et al. 2010; Nevle et al. 2011) as well as criticism. The new study adds weight to his argument that humans influenced greenhouse gas concentrations even before the Industrial Revolution. The question remains how large that influence was and how substantially it might have altered global climate in the context of other natural drivers.
The Journal of Interdisciplinary History has dedicated its latest issue to the Little Ice Age. The JIH, which featured a seminal discussion of climate in history three decades ago, now features a forum with four new articles on the topic: The first, by economic historians Kelly and Ó Grada, questions whether there was a Little Ice Age at all, arguing that certain documentary series in Europe do not show clear breaks or cycles in temperature, and that many common images of the LIA are not proof of significant cooling. The second, by Sam White, points to serious shortcomings in Kelly and Ó Grada’s arguments, and outlines the case for the LIA based on proxy data and phenology. It emphasizes that even though the periodization of the LIA is problematic, the phenomenon remains real and consequential. Another review of Kelly and Ó Grada, by Büntgen and Hellman, provides further discussion of the now extensive proxy evidence for early modern global cooling on each continent. The final piece in the forum is Jan de Vries’s review article of Geoffrey Parker’s recent book Global Crisis (Yale UP: 2013). De Vries praises the work for its wide-ranging and lively narrative but questions whether Parker has answered difficult questions of economic history and the “great divergence.”
The editors’ summary is available online here.
Morgan Kelly and Cormac Ó Gráda, “The Waning of the Little Ice Age: Climate Change in Early Modern Europe,” Journal of Interdisciplinary History 44 (2013): 301–25, doi:10.1162/JINH_a_00573.
Sam White, “The Real Little Ice Age,” Journal of Interdisciplinary History 44 (2013): 327–52, doi:10.1162/JINH_a_00574.
Ulf Büntgen and Lena Hellmann, “The Little Ice Age in Scientific Perspective: Cold Spells and Caveats,” Journal of Interdisciplinary History 44 (2013): 353–68, doi:10.1162/JINH_a_00575.
Jan de Vries, “The Crisis of the Seventeenth Century: The Little Ice Age and the Mystery of the ‘Great Divergence,’” Journal of Interdisciplinary History 44 (2013): 369–77, doi:10.1162/JINH_a_00576.
A new study identifying a major drought during the Late Bronze Age crisis (ca.1250-1100BCE) in the Eastern Mediterranean has received considerable media attention, including a write-up in the New York Times. The theory that a drought had set off the century of famines, migration, and political instability at the end of the Bronze Age has been proposed by various historians and archaeologists for almost 50 years. Recent advances allowing for higher-resolution dating of certain proxy data have finally established that the drought was real, prolonged, and severe, and it overlapped very closely with the period of crisis (see Kaniewsky et al. 2013). The authors of the new study have added high-resolution analysis of a pollen core from the Sea of Galilee to provide the clearest indication of the drought yet. The study compares this evidence with the sparse written records indicating drought and famine in Egypt and the Levant at the time; and they argue for a climate-led “collapse” similar to the one Ronnie Ellenblum has proposed for the region in the 11th-12th centuries AD. Unfortunately, there are only the vaguest indications how such a catastrophe scenario might have unfolded or what other circumstances might have contributed.
Dafna Langgut, Israel Finkelstein, and Thomas Litt, “Climate and the Late Bronze Age Collapse: New Evidence from the Southern Levant,” Tel Aviv 40 (2013): 149–75, doi:10.1179/033443513X13753505864205.
An interdisciplinary and international workshop supported by the University of Stirling and the Economic History Society, “Mortality Crises between the Plagues: Epidemics, Epizootics and Food Shortages, c.800-c.1300 CE” takes place at the University of Stirling, Scotland, 12-13 November 2013. Participating scholars will address European mortality crises between the last outbreak of the Justinianic Plague in 750 (or 767) and the irruption of the Black Death in 1346. Climate anomalies underlie several of the events addressed.
The workshop will build on and synthesize recent scholarship. Its four primary objectives are to identify inter-plague epidemics, epizootics and subsistence crises in time and space, to gauge the demographic and economic fallout of these events, to consider temporal and spatial trends in their occurrence, and to examine possible synergy between disease, hunger, and climate in the inter-plague period.
Sessions will examine (1) mortality crises in the early Middle Ages; (2) mortality crises in High Medieval England and Scotland; (3) mortality crises in High Medieval Southern Europe; and (4) mortality crises in High Medieval Northern Europe.
Speakers include: Francis Ludlow, Timothy Newfield, Peter Jankrift, Richard Oram, Bruce Campbell, Alasdair Ross, Philip Slavin, Pere Benito i Monclús, Antoni Riera Melis, Joan Montoro Maltas, Luciano Palermo, Nils Hybel, Heli Huhtamaa, and Stuart Morrison.
More information, including a complete list of papers, is attached here.
The IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report: a historical perspective
On 27 September 2013 the The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published its highly anticipated summary for policymakers, in advance of its fifth assessment report that will be published in early 2014. This special episode of the podcast, explores briefly the origins of the organisation that produced this landmark report and, in more detail, the difficult international negotiations that have used the IPCC’s findings since its inception. This historical overview ends with the question whether we can learn anything from previous problems of atmospheric pollution; in this case the Great London Smog and the ozone hole, to tackle global warming.
The podcast concludes with a brief interview of historical climatologist Dagomar Degroot and his response to the summary of the fifth assessment report from the perspective of climate history. Dagomar is a PhD Candidate in environmental history at York University in Toronto, Canada.
Listen to the episode here: http://www.eh-resources.org/podcast/podcast.html#54
Post-Doc Opportunities: “Glaciers and Glaciology: How Nature, Field Research, and Societal Forces Shape the Earth Sciences”
Applications are sought for a two-year National Science Foundation (NSF) funded postdoctoral fellowship at the intersection of environmental history, the history of science, and political ecology at the University of Oregon. The postdoctoral fellowship is part of Professor Mark Carey’s NSF CAREER grant (#1253779) on “Glaciers and Glaciology: How Nature, Field Research, and Societal Forces Shape the Earth Sciences” (see links below for more information). Applicants should have a research agenda that intersects with this NSF-funded project by examining historical glacier-society interactions, the history of glaciology, the history of the earth sciences, climate-society dynamics, the role of dynamic environmental change in the evolution of scientific knowledge, or the history of field-based sciences. Applicants may also have broader or more theoretical connections to the project, or they may have related regional specializations in the history of Greenland, the Arctic, Antarctica, or high mountains such as the Himalaya, Alps, or Andes.
Applicants must have interdisciplinary interests as well as more specific training in areas such as environmental history, history of science, political ecology, science and technology studies, human geography, etc. The fellow will be expected to pursue her/his own research, publish, co-author articles, and interact with a dynamic group of scholars and students across the University of Oregon campus.
In addition to pursuing an active research agenda, the postdoctoral fellow will also do minimal teaching (1-2 courses total over two years) to gain additional experience for the job market as a Teacher-Scholar. This unique appointment will be in the University of Oregon’s Robert D. Clark Honors College, which operates as a liberal arts college embedded within a major AAU research university. The fellow will thus gain valuable experience driving her/his research agenda, collaborating with faculty and students, and teaching some of the university’s top undergraduates.
Start date is September 2014. The postdoctoral fellow will receive an annual salary of $51,724, as well as funds for research and travel expenses. A Ph.D. in a related discipline completed by September 15, 2014 (and no earlier than September 1, 2009) is required.
Applications must be submitted by email to Mark Carey at firstname.lastname@example.org. Applications must include: (1) cover letter that explains precisely how the applicant’s qualifications and research intersects with this NSF project and what s/he plans to do during the two-year fellowship; (2) CV; (3) writing sample (an article or the introduction and chapter of the dissertation); (4) evidence of teaching effectiveness; and (5) names of three recommenders who will be asked to provide letters once a “short list” is determined.
Application deadline is December 15, 2013. The position will remain open until filled. The University of Oregon is an equal-opportunity, affirmative-action institution committed to cultural diversity and compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Candidates who promote and enhance diversity are strongly desired. For more information contact Professor Mark Carey.
<Full announcement available here: Postdoc_U-Oregon_EnviroHistory-HistScience>