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Centre for the History of Science, Technology and Medicine

Climate Matters

9–10 October 2008

Climate Matters is a two-day meeting at the Centre for the History of Science, Technology and Medicine exploring the anxieties associated with the terms climate and anthropogenic climate change. The Centre is bringing together scholars from several disciplines to discuss whether history, social sciences and science studies can provide a clear perspective on what climate anxieties are telling us about environmentalism and politics in late modern societies. We will discuss why current uses of these and related terms so agressively shape both economy and moral theory. Why are they used as vehicles in public debate, scientific research and political discourse? Just how, given the many definitions of climate in history, did we adopt the current usage? How has climate come to be regarded as global? Has a kind of climatological determinism taken roots again, and if so, what lies behind it? Finally, how far do political and legal measures go toward addressing the issue, or do they beauraucratize it and thus work to remove it from public view?

Provisional Programme

Thursday 9 October

14:00 - Samuel Randalls (UCL)
What is climate change? Security and Stability in Climate Discourses

14:30 - Greg Bankoff (University of Hull)
Governing in Uncertain Times: Vulnerability and Resilience in an Age of Change

15:00 - Kathryn Yusoff (University of Exeter) and Simon Naylor (University of Exeter)
Towards a Historical Geography of Climate Change

16:00 - Erik Swyngedouw (University of Manchester)
Climate Change Policy as Post-Political and Post-Democratic Populism

16:30 - Vladimir Jankovic (University of Manchester)
The Day Before Tomorrow: The Business of Climate Change

Friday 10 October

9:00 - James R. Fleming (Colby College)
Past Projections of Future Climate Control

9:30 - Bronislaw Szerszynski (University of Lancaster)
Climate Technics

10:00 - David Demeritt and James Porter (King’s College London)
Policy Driver or Distraction? Flooding forecasts and the fallacies of science-obsessed climate policy

11:00 - Mike Hulme (University of East Anglia)
The Fall and Rise of Climatic Determinism

11:30 - Brian Wynne (University of Lancaster)
Climate, Risk and Security: Discursive constructions of practical inaction and moral paralysis


Dr Vladimir Jankovic

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