Climate and Energy History

Yale historians and affiliated scholars are pursuing a variety of research and writing efforts related to the history of climate and society the history of energy systems. 

Climate History

Yale faculty and students are exploring the relationship between climate, ecology, and the historical evolution of societies, institutions, and economies. Key questions include: How can academics in the humanities and social sciences sort through the enormous amount of climate science that has been generated in the last ten years? How does this data map onto the historical record? How has human society adapted and responded to climate and ecological change in the past, and how might it in the present and future? 

The Yale Nile Initiative, an ongoing NSF-sponsored project led by Professor Joseph Manning, continues to investigate the link between explosive volcanic eruptions and the annual Nile river summer flooding in antiquity.

Several years ago, Yale hosted an interdisciplinary workshop, “Usable Climate Science and the Uses of History,” co-organized by Professor Deborah Coen, to reflect critically on the ideals and practices of “cooperative” modes of climate change research, past and present.

Faculty involved include: Joe Manning  (Classics & History); Deborah Coen (History); Harvey Weiss (Environment); Jennifer Marlon (Environment); Sunil Amrith (History); Alan Mikhail (History); Stuart Schwartz (History); Paul Sabin  (History); Fabian Drixler (History); Michael Dove (Environmental Studies); Rod Mcintosh (Anthropology); Anne Underhill (Anthropology).

Energy History

A growing cohort of faculty and graduate students are studying the history of energy from a global perspective, including projects in U.S. history, South and Southeast Asia, Africa, Russia, and elsewhere. Collaborative projects in Energy History and Energy Humanities are exploring pedagogical approaches to teaching about energy and studying energy topics across the humanities disciplines. 

Faculty involved include Paul Sabin (History); Douglas Rogers (Anthropology); Jennifer Klein (History), Sunil Amrith (History); William Rankin (History), and others.