1/10/2019 – CFO: Weathered History. The Material Side of Past Climate Change

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What, when & where

Weathered History – The Material Side of Past Climate Change

Contemporary, but also historical climate change is, in itself, beyond the scale of human perception, but scholars can combine instrumental data, proxy information, and written sources to reconstruct these patterns. What humans could in the past and today still can perceive are meteorological extremes:  droughts, heatwaves, strong precipitation, floods, cold spells, and storms. Such extreme historical events, however, have generally left only indirect evidence in the material heritage of past human societies. The Virtual Exhibition ‘Weathered History’ presents this legacy to a wider public.

The climate historical working group “Climate Reconstruction and Impacts from the Archives of Societies” (CRIAS), as a part of the PAGES network, aims to demonstrate to the public how environmental change and historical interactions of humans with their environment also have a material side. We are therefore planning to exhibit and contextualize a variety of objects related to:

  • Disaster memory: Floodmarks, inscriptions related to weather-induced famine; all kind of mementos commemorating extreme events.
  • Coping mechanisms: Religious objects used in weather-rituals; technical means of influencing the weather; infrastructures to guard against weather-related damage.
  • Side effects of climate change: Inventions and innovations that can be reasonably connected to slow or rapid climate change; possible influence of specific climatic events on the arts and literature.
  • Visualizations of the invisible: How was climate visualized since the concept was invented in antiquity? In the case of pre-modern societies (pre-1750), depictions of weather are also of interest.
  • Objects of scientific research: Early weather instruments and visualizations of objects and activities used as climate proxies

To this end, we welcome object proposals by scholars from a wide variety of disciplines throughout the humanities and sciences and all cultural and chronological contexts.

We invite proposals in the form of one image of the object and an accompanying 200-word text, written for a broad audience of non-specialists, that contextualizes the object and how it relates to past climate change or weather. Proposals should ideally include one or two bibliographical or online references for further reading. We will give preference to images in the public domain or whose copyright holder is willing to provide free of charge, as no budget for licenses, etc. is available from our side.

Three examples and a template for object proposals can be downloaded; also check the connected CRIAS workshop’s homepage.

Deadline & how to apply

Please send the completed template as a PDF plus a separate image file (best resolution available, JPG format) to martin.bauch@leibniz-gwzo.de by 1 October 2019.

Other info, Links & conditions

We plan an online exhibition to be hosted on the Google Arts and Culture platform within the context of Germany’s Leibniz Association’s activities there.


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