Cultural History

The Cultural History of Climate Change

This post comes to you from Cultura21

Humanities Research Centre, Australian National University, 27 – 28 August, 2012

Historians since Herodotus have argued that climates shape cultures. We can no longer ignore the fact that cultures also shape climates. Today’s climate is increasingly a material effect of the history of industrialisation. The climate of the coming centuries will be an effect of contemporary global society. Recognition of these interactions opens a significant new field to historical inquiry. It brings the economic, political and technological history of the carbon cycle together with cultural, aesthetic and literary reflections of climate, and links the emergence of ecological thinking to broader transformations in the organization of knowledge. Acknowledging that the climate is cultural compels us to rethink many existing forms of historical understanding. It challenges traditional notions of the historical period, of collective and individual agency, of the narrative forms of historiography, and of the basic distinction between natural and human history. It demands new ways of relating the existential and historical moments of human knowledge and action to the dimensions of geological and evolutionary time.

The cultural history of climate change will be of central importance to social, cultural and political debates of the Twenty-First Century. To provide a speculative survey of this field, the Humanities Research Centre will hold a special conference on this theme on 27 and 28 August, 2012, in Canberra, Australia.

Proposals are invited for papers that either:
• examine episodes, works or themes that fall within the cultural history of climate change; or
• address the conceptual challenges posed to historical inquiry by anthropogenic climate change.

Please submit proposals of up to 300 words to tom [dot] ford [at] anu [dot] edu [dot] au by 18 May 2012

Cultura21 is a transversal, translocal network, constituted of an international level grounded in several Cultura21 organizations around the world.

Cultura21′s international network, launched in April 2007, offers the online and offline platform for exchanges and mutual learning among its members.

The activities of Cultura21 at the international level are coordinated by a team representing the different Cultura21 organizations worldwide, and currently constituted of:

– Sacha Kagan (based in Lüneburg, Germany) and Rana Öztürk (based in Berlin, Germany)
– Oleg Koefoed and Kajsa Paludan (both based in Copenhagen, Denmark)
– Hans Dieleman (based in Mexico-City, Mexico)
– Francesca Cozzolino and David Knaute (both based in Paris, France)

Cultura21 is not only an informal network. Its strength and vitality relies upon the activities of several organizations around the world which are sharing the vision and mission of Cultura21

Go to Cultura21

Conference: “People and Nature in Mountains”

This post comes to you from Cultura21

21st to 23rd September 2011, Trondheim, Norway

Abstract submission deadline: 15th June.

This conference will address how archaeology and cultural history can be integrated with long-term and contemporary ecology to understand landscape dynamics and underpin sustainable management and conservation of both cultural heritage and biodiversity in mountain environments. For more information visit: www.ntnu.no/vitenskapsmuseet/peopleandnature.

Cultura21 is a transversal, translocal network, constituted of an international level grounded in several Cultura21 organizations around the world.

Cultura21′s international network, launched in April 2007, offers the online and offline platform for exchanges and mutual learning among its members.

The activities of Cultura21 at the international level are coordinated by a team representing the different Cultura21 organizations worldwide, and currently constituted of:

– Sacha Kagan (based in Lüneburg, Germany) and Rana Öztürk (based in Berlin, Germany)

– Oleg Koefoed and Kajsa Paludan (both based in Copenhagen, Denmark)

– Hans Dieleman (based in Mexico-City, Mexico)

– Francesca Cozzolino and David Knaute (both based in Paris, France)

Cultura21 is not only an informal network. Its strength and vitality relies upon the activities of several organizations around the world which are sharing the vision and mission of Cultura21

Go to Cultura21

Apocalyptica: No Blade of Grass

No Blade of GrassIf, like me, you are the sort of person who would run a mile rather than listen to Woman’s Hour on BBC Radio 4, take courage and think again. This week the programme is dramatising John Christopher’s classic science-fiction thriller No Blade of Grass. (It’s kind of John Wyndham on steroids: it also became a fairly dire movie). In it, an unknown virus wipes out all the west’s staple crops, leaving Britain starving. The country quickly descends into murderous anarchy.

It doesn’t take a genius to work out why the apocalyptic meme is so strong right now. It’s there in art, clearly, in movies and in BBC remakes like this and Survivors. Interestingly, just to underline the fact that the long cultural history of apocalyptic visions is not unrelated to our current environmental predicament, there’s a new edition of the book being published, with an introduction from cultural historian and ecologist Robert MacFarlane.

Listen to the drama – this week only – on BBC’s Listen Again here.

Go to RSA Arts & Ecology Blog