Research Community on Communicating Uncertainty: Science, Institutions, and Ethics in the Politics of Global Climate Change
Workshop on Historicizing Climate Change
May 2-3, 2014
219 Aaron Burr Hall, Princeton University
Draft program (3/5/2014) here <AGENDA>.
Given the recent publication of the IPCC AR5 WGII and some prominent coverage of Geoffrey Parker’s Global Crisis in the news, I wanted to publish a link to somerecent discussion and commentary by my colleague Dagomar Degroot on his blog HistoricalClimatology.com
The April 2014 issue of Environmental History features an extended forum on climate history. The introductory essay focuses on two questions raised throughout the articles: (1)How does the study of climate history enrich the field of environmental history more broadly? (2) How can environmental historians contribute to present-day understandings of and responses to global climate change? The first contribution, by Adrian Howkins considers the history of Antarctica’s McMurdo Dry Valleys as a lens on contemporary climate science and the meaning of the Anthropocene. Georgina Endfield analyses the workings of vulnerability, resilience, and adaptation through past climate changes and extremes, with case studies from colonial Mexico. Lawrence Culver discusses the historical perceptions and cultural construction of climate through 19th-century American debates over expansion into the arid West and the myth that “rain follows the plow.” Sam White’s essay surveys the place of animals in climate history, emphasizing human use of animals as a key factor in past and present climate change vulnerability and resilience. Sherry Johnson considers the impact of smaller climate cycles and extreme events through a case study of Florida natives during the War of Jenkin’s Ear and the Stono Rebellion (1738-40). James Fleming traces the history of a medical metaphor of climate and climate change both in scientific and popular discourse, noting its effects on policy proposal including as geoengineering. Philip Garone details the practical and political significance of climate change for US public lands management and considers its consequences for our understandings of conservation, preservation, and wilderness. Finally, Mark Carey makes a case for a critical climate history: an active involvement of historians in climate change discussions, and climate models and scenarios that are better informed by history.
Two major publications came out this week in climate history. The first is John Brooke’s Climate Change and the Course of Global History: A Rough Journey (New York: Cambridge University Press): a Big History approach, covering geological timescales down to the recent human past. Brooke emphasizes the role of climate cycles, catastrophes, and sudden change in human evolution, migration, and the crisis and collapse of states and empires, challenging theories of Malthusian pressures and endogenous decline. The book offers the most comprehensive global synthesis of past climate change impacts to date.
Also this week, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences included an article by Neil Pederson and collaborators at the Earth Institute indicating that the rise of Genghis Khan’s Mongol Empire in the early 13th century AD coincided with the longest period of above-average rainfall in Mongolia for more than a millennium. The article forms part of a larger project measuring tree-rings and sporormiella spores to analyze the “energetics” of Mongol nomads: the interaction between climate fluctuations, the maintenance of horses and livestock, and the rise of steppe empires.
2 PhD positions: Economic and Social History
At Utrecht University, at the department of History and Art History, the Section Economic and Social History, within the research team of Professor Bas van Bavel, there are vacancies for 2 PhD positions. The PhD’s will work within the ERC-funded project ‘Coordinating for life. Success and failure of Western European societies in coping with rural hazards and disasters, 1300-1800′, which aims to explain why some societies are successful in preventing the effects of major hazards and buffering threats, or in recovering quickly, while others prove highly vulnerable. Deadline for applications: 14 April 2014.
Here is a direct link to the description of the vacancy.
1 Postdoc position: Economic and Social History
At Utrecht University, at the department of History and Art History, the Section Economic and Social History, within the research team of Professor Bas van Bavel, there is also a vacancy for a Postdoc position. As a Postdoc you will work within the ERC-funded project “Coordinating for life. Success and failure of Western European societies in coping with rural hazards and disasters, 1300-1800”, which aims to explain why some societies are successful in preventing the effects of major hazards and buffering threats, or in recovering quickly, while others prove highly vulnerable. Deadline for applications: 14 April 2014.
Here is a direct link to the description of the vacancy.
The 16th International Conference of the International Conference of
Historical Geographers will be held in London UK, 5-10 July 2015. The
call for papers and proposals is now open: please go to www.ichg2015.org
The deadline for receipt of proposals is 15 September 2014. All further
details – of sessions, field trips, plenaries, accommodation, and social
events – is available from the ICHG website.
<from ICHM listserve>
A new review written sources and studies in historical climatology of the tropics and subtropics has come out in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society. Authors David Nash (University of Brighton) and George Adamson (King’s College London) examine the potential of documentary evidence to extend back temperature, rainfall, El Niño/La Niña, and storm records for less studied parts of the globe, particularly Africa and Latin America.
The Bulletin has also generously allowed me to post the article in PDF (Nash 14 – Recent Advances in the Historical Climatology).