A Discussion on Building a Climate and History Network at Columbia

May 05, 2022


513 Fayerweather (in-person only, Morningside Campus)

Event Type: 

Please join us and register for the now rescheduled History and Climate Change Workshop of Spring 2022, on Wednesday, May 5th, at 4pm, featuring Columbia's Rhiannon Stephens and Jason Smerdon, who will lead A Discussion on Building a Climate and History Network at Columbia.

This event is in-person only in 513 Fayerweather on the Morningside Campus, and will include a reception.

Historians and climate scientists are increasingly collaborating with each other. These interactions are helping us to better understand our past climate at local or regional scales over seasonal to annual timescales. While we know much about how the climate has changed over the course of human history at a global or hemispheric level, the complicated dynamics at regional and sub-regional levels means there is much still to learn and historical evidence can help by anchoring climate events in time. Conversely, we may be able to better understand history through our knowledge of the climate by bringing paleoclimatology into historical research, especially before the twentieth century. 

Our specific collaborative research has worked to understand multi-decadal droughts in East Africa in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. We will use the preliminary work on this project to discuss the challenges and benefits of collaborations in this space and what needs to be done to cultivate and amplify climate and history collaborations more generally across Columbia.  We will review other efforts in this space and why we think there is great potential to pursue similar interdisciplinary efforts at Columbia.  Our presentation will thus be used to seed an open discussion on the interest, capacity, and logistics of building a climate and history network at Columbia. 

The series is co-sponsored by the Institute for Social and Economic Research and Policy, and the Center for Science and Society at Columbia University. 



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