A network of interdisciplinary scholars studying past climate change
Last week the annual conference of the American Society for Environmental History again reflected the building interest in climatic fluctuation as a historical agent. Held in Madison, Wisconsin, the conference featured panels that included a diverse selection of papers exploring the environmental history of a shifting climate. Topics ranged from relationships between climatic fluctuations and nineteenth century famines in the far north, to Jamaicans in Nova Scotia at the conclusion of the eighteenth century; from transportation networks at the birthplace of capitalism in the seventeenth century to the construction of the St. Petersburg ice palace during the frigid winter of 1740. Other panels implicitly wrestled with the influence of a continually shifting climate, with the interdisciplinary presenters in “Paradigms of Change” articulating different ways of conceptualizing past (and present) environmental change. Finally, a workshop considered the ways in which indigenous peoples relate to today’s climatic crisis, with discussion stimulated by the screening of the film “Through Tribal Eyes.”
Our second annual climate history breakfast was well attended, and began with a summary of new conferences and publications relevant to historical climatology. We continued by describing the development of the network, which now includes over 50 members. The climate history network website now averages 6,000 yearly viewers, while HistoricalClimatology.com, an associated site, receives over 20,000 yearly visitors. After a discussion of the network and the discipline the floor was opened for suggestions. In coming weeks, look for us to develop a social media presence, reconfigure the members’ list, create handy resources for non-specialists, and include further teaching resources.
If you could not attend the conference or the breakfast, feel free to email Dagomar Degroot or Sam White to offer suggestions, become a member, or become a contributor. We are always looking for more people to add or edit content!