Session of the Week: Climate Change and Big History: From the Origin of Modern Humanity to the Little Ice Age

In an effort to highlight the diverse range of scholarship at the upcoming annual meeting, we’re highlighting different sessions on the blog each week.

Senior historians collaborate with the scientific community to discuss the long term effects of climate change on the human condition. Topics to be explored in this session include: migration, periodization and the rise of the nation state.

Climate Change and Big History: From the Origin of Modern Humanity to the Little Ice Age
(AHA Session 140)

Date: Saturday, January 5, 2013, 9:00 a.m.- 11:00 a.m.
Location: Napoleon Ballroom D2 (Sheraton New Orleans)
Chair: John R. McNeill, Georgetown University
Comment: Bruce M. S. Campbell, Queen’s University of Belfast and Mark A. Cane, Columbia University

Topics:
Climate, Human Well-Being, and the State in the Mid to Late Holocene, 6000 BCE–1700 CE
John L. Brooke, Ohio State University

Climate as a Factor in Migration and Social Change, 200,000 to 5,000 Years Ago
Patrick Manning, University of Pittsburg; Aubrey Hillman, University of Pittsburgh

Session Abstract
Two papers by senior historians look at the very long term of climate and the human condition. Professor Manning focuses especially on spatial change in climate, tracing the ways changing climate facilitated or redirected migration, especially in the years of human settlement of the earth from some 70,000 to 10,000 years ago. Professor Brooke focuses on the last six millennia and emphasizes abrupt, punctuated change in climate, as solar fluctuations and volcanism combined to bring occasionally deep shocks of cooling, up to and including the Little Ice Age, stressing their importance for the periodization of the long sweep of human history since the rise of the state.

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