Cultural Histories and Memories of Extreme Weather Events
<from the ICHM listserve>
Call for Abstracts:
Abstracts are invited for inclusion in a proposed session at the International Conference of Historical Geographers, London, 5-10 July 2015
Cultural histories and memories of extreme weather events
Extreme weather events are as much social texts as material occurrences. Geographical context, particular physical conditions, an area’s social and economic activities and embedded cultural knowledges, norms, values, practices and infrastructures all affect community experiences, reactions and responses to extreme weather. The way in which an extreme event is perceived in turn determines whether it becomes inscribed into social memory in the form of oral history, ideology, custom, behaviour, narrative, artefact, technological and physical adaptation, including adaptations to the working landscape and built environment. These different forms of remembering and recording weather in the past act to curate, recycle and transmit extreme events across generations and into the future. Cultural memories, experiences and knowledge of past weather events and personalised weather narratives and autobiographical memories of past events may thus serve an important orientating function and could play significant role in popular understanding and articulation of current debates about weather and climate. This session will draw together scholars whose research uses archival/ documentary based investigations and oral history approaches to i.) construct climate histories, including histories of extreme weather and associated impacts in a range of case study regions and ii.) to explore whether and how extreme weather events affected the individuals lives of local people and became inscribed into the cultural and infrastructural fabric and social memory of local communities. We welcome abstracts from people working on climate (re)construction as well as those interested in weather observers and their historical geographies.
Abstracts should not exceed 200 words.