July 1, 2016, by Brigitte Nerlich

The meanings of climate

This is a guest post by Martin Mahony (British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow and Nottingham Research Fellow, School of Geography) announcing a public lecture. The lecture sounds really interesting. Unfortunately, I am away and can’t got to it, but I hope that lots of others will be able to attend!


What do we talk about when we talk about climate? A public lecture by Vladimir Jankovic

On 14th July Vladimir Jankovic, an historian of science at the University of Manchester, will be giving a public lecture on the question of ‘What do we talk about when we talk about climate?’ The talk will form the first Hayman Rooke Lecture in Environmental Humanities, a new lecture series which aims to promote some of the great work happening in Nottingham and beyond at the intersections of environmental change and humanities disciplines such as history, cultural geography, philosophy and literature.

Environmental humanities scholarship is exploring new questions about the social drivers of global change, the values and ethics which underpin our engagements with the environment, and the roles of narrative and the creative arts in making sense of the human place in nature.

Vlad Jankovic approaches these questions through the lens of climate. He’s written extensively on the cultural history of meteorology and of the medicinal uses of the physical environment. In this talk, he will reflect on how different notions of climate have emerged through architectural practices and the design of urban space. As a number of scholars have pointed out, ‘climate’ is an especially slippery concept. It can refer to a geophysical system, an average of weather, a powerful agent exerting influence over human societies, or as something much more diffuse – a spread of collective feeling – think for example of a ‘political climate’, or an ‘emotional climate’.

Vlad will explore how certain ideas about climate position it as something very much outside of human sensory capacities, while others see climate as a more ‘relational’ concept, concerned with relationships between human bodies and their milieu. We can trace this divide through the history of climatology itself. Vlad will trace it through the history of architectural dealings with climate, to examine how the idea of climate itself is about much more than a physical atmosphere, but about the ways we inhabit our worlds spatially, culturally and ethically.

We hope that this will be the first of many Hayman Rooke Lectures. Rooke was a noted botanist, antiquarian and archaeologist who made his home in Nottinghamshire, at Mansfield Woodhouse. The Major Oak of Sherwood Forest – Britain’s favourite tree – was named in Rooke’s honour, like this lecture series. Rooke’s multi-disciplinary engagements with his local landscapes, with their intertwined human and natural histories, makes him an ideal figure to position alongside emerging work in the environmental humanities.

The lecture will begin at 6pm at the Djanogly Theatre, Lakeside Arts. For more details and to register for the event, please visit www.talk-about-climate.eventbrite.co.uk

Posted in Climate Change