Climate Change and History Research Initiative

  • We are glad to announce the CCHRI's research has recently been featured worldwide!
  • As we get ready to wrap up 2019, here is a summary of the CCHRI's activity over the past year:
  • The CCHRI's director Prof. John Haldon was recently interviewed for a piece in the German Der Spiegel, discussing environmental change, risk and history.
  • Following our successful workshop in Athens in March (time flies!), our partner institution, Princeton's Seeger Center for Hellenic Studies, has published a review of the workshop.
  • As part of the CCHRI's collaboration with the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History in Jena, Germany, both institutions will hold a joint 3-day interdisciplinary colloquium in Jena. 
  • On April 25, the CCHRI will hold its fifth annual colloquium at Princeton. Our annual colloquium this year focuses on climate and migration through an historical perspective. The colloquium will be a full day, with a keynote lecture delivered at its end. More details can be found under Events in this website.
  • We are glad to announce that during March 2019 the CCHRI will run two events in Europe for the first time! In the first, the CCHRI will collaborate with the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History in Jena, Germany, to run a three day conference bringing together scholars from the humanities, social sciences and natural sciences.
  • We are glad to announce that we have published our 2015-2018 report, covering our entire first stage of support, on this page. The report covers our work over the past three years, describes the events we held and the publications that came out of the initiatives.
  • We are glad to announce that the special journal issue of Human Ecology, the result of our 2015 colloquium, is finally out! Although individual articles from the journal have been available since the beginning of 2018, they can now be accessed and read together in hard copy or online.
  • We are glad to announce that after reviewing our past accomplishments over the last three years, PIIRS decided to make an exception and renew the CCHRI's funding for an extra year! For 2018/9 we plan to continue our activities in Princeton and branch out to additional activities in Europe.

A comparative approach to climate, environment and society in Eurasia: towards understanding the impact of climate on complex societies

This interdisciplinary project investigates the impact of climatic changes across the last two millennia on societies in two environmentally sensitive areas:

  • The eastern Mediterranean basin (including the Balkans, Anatolia and the Near and Middle East).
  • The eastern Eurasian steppe, in particular Mongolia and the regions north of China.

The main foci of the project are (1) the differential impacts of climate and environmental change on complex societies and state formation and (2) the impact of human society and polities on the environment. 

Two keywords embody the principles upon which the project is founded: consilience and resilience. The former reflects current efforts to integrate natural scientific with social scientific research techniques, methodologies and philosophies in a common effort; the latter reflects the leitmotif of the project, which is to investigate the ways in which climate and environmental stress has impacted on social, economic, political and cultural systems and to illustrate of the outcomes of these impacts. The aims are thus:

  • To expand the understanding of societal transformation and environmental evolution through a detailed historical analysis of the regions in question.
  • To generate new methodologies and research questions by integrating social and natural science approaches.

Through the development of this integrated and approach, the project generates a model of historical-evolutionary change. As noted already, the keyword is socio-cultural resilience, an understanding of the mechanisms underlying which is essential for insight into contemporary environmental change and the possibilities for future planning and policy.

The CCHRI has been operating since 2014/5, and has organized six multidisciplinary colloquia and four introductory workshops in three countries, alongside numerous public lectures. These research activities have resulted in over 50 articles so far.

Upcoming Events

Public lecture by Prof. Tom McGovern (Hunter College/NJ and the Graduate Center, CUNY): Commerce, Collapse, and Survival in Medieval Greenland and Iceland

CCHRI at the 53rd Spring Symposium of Byzantine Studies in Birmingham University

Sat, Mar 28, 2020, 8:00 am to Mon, Mar 30, 2020, 8:00 pm

At the 53rd Spring Symposium of Byzantine Studies, University of Birmingham/UK,  on the subject of Nature and the Environment...

CCHRI Workshop at Princeton University

Fri, May 1, 2020 (All day)

The CCHRI will hold a workshop at Princeton titled Past answers to current concerns: Collaborative...