Environmental history considers environment-human interactions over time, examining the impact of environments on humans and humans on environments.
It explores both cultural perceptions and material changes in environments. Environmental history is interdisciplinary, drawing from science and humanities, but considering topics within an historical framework.
Given today’s global environmental crisis, environmental history can be of considerable assistance in giving us the tools to comprehend how we reached this point in our history. It offers insights into the Anthropocene, as well as opening up possibilities for future directions based on past experiences.
Academics at the School of Science in Society are exploring a range of environmental histories at many different historical and geographical scales, with a focus on Asia-Pacific environments and peoples. For example, James Beattie is examining the origins of environmental change in the Pacific brought about by demand from Chinese markets and Chinese migration. This involves consideration of ecological exchange and environmental transformation, agriculture, market gardening and disease.
Some results of this research can be viewed here:
Recent publications include:
- Cantonese Labour and Environmental Change
- Migrant Ecologies: Environmental Histories of the Pacific
- Environments and Empires in World History, 3000BCE-1900CE
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