Past weather, past climate - archaeology as Environmental Humanity
Felix Riede (Aarhus University)
Alison Klevnäs (Stockholm University)
Mike Hulme (King's College London)
British Museum - Sackler A
Start time:
27 May, 2016 at 11:30
Session slots:

Short abstract:

The environmental turn in the humanities urges archaeology not only to write environmental deep histories that document past human-environment relations but also to turn a critical eye on its narratives and valorisations of humans' place in the world and their articulations with present concerns.

Long abstract:

In recent years, an environmental turn in the humanities has brought concerns of weather, climate and environment central stage again in disciplines - anthropology sensu lato amongst them - that have tended to eschew those themes as irrelevant. Archaeology, however, has a long-standing interest in the environment and much has been written about the fruitful collaboration between geologists and archaeologists, usually centred on shared attention to soils, strata and human impacts. On the eve of the Anthropocene pronouncement, both geologists and environmental humanists argue for a greater appreciation of the diversity when it comes to human-environment relations and for a greater emphasis on ethical concern. In the Anthropocene, the culture|nature divide collapses, all history arguably becomes also environmental history, all archaeology environmental archaeology. This panel submits that one of (environmental) archaeology's major concerns should be issues of human climate impacts and asks whether or not and if so how we can move towards an engaged archaeology that not only writes environmental deep history but also critically addresses the valorisation of consumption, control, and environmental engineering in much of archaeological research, heritage management, and dissemination. We invite papers that document past human-weather/climate/environment relations and human impacts either on or from the environment; we especially encourage speakers to reflect on how such narratives articulate with contemporary local, regional, national and global concerns.