Medieval weather and the natural order session

Call For Papers: Medieval Weather and the Natural Order
New Chaucer Society Congress, Portland OR July 23-26, 2012

Organizer: Robert Stanton
Paul Dutton has written that “‘weather’ is properly historical and stubbornly
subjective, since it involves humans in time thinking about it and how it
affects their lives.” How were meteorological phenomena in the late Middle Ages
observed, described, and interpreted? Recent work in ecocriticism has signaled
the endlessly fluid and negotiable character of nature; can we reconfigure the
notion of “natural phenomena” as a negotiated interaction among divine, human,
and physical orders? Submissions to this panel might address the reception of
storms, floods, earthquakes, or droughts across genres; a comparison of
representations of weather in textual and visual sources; or the relationship
between generalized and archetypal descriptions of weather events and their
strategic deployment as narrative and rhetorical elements.

Please send a one-paragraph abstract by June 1, 2011 to Robert Stanton,
Department of English, Boston College

ESEH Summer School 2011

The Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society and the European Society for Environmental History will hold its second summer school for doctoral students from 20–25 June 2011,  in Italy at the Centro Tedesco di Studi Veneziani (Palazzo Barbarigo della Terrazza) in Venice. The topic of this summer school will be “Water–Culture–Politics: Perspectives in Environmental History.” Mentors will include Donald Worster (USA), Stefania Barca (Portugal), and Dolly Jorgensen (Sweden).

Deadline for applications is 20 February 2011.

For more information, please click here (pdf, 19 KB).

Kalamazoo 2010 Summary

Ellen Arnold, one of the co-organizers of the Kalamazoo 2010 gathering, has written up the following summary from the conference:

In May, scholars from across the disciplines, including many of the members of ENFORMA gathered at the Medieval Congress at Kalamazoo.  It was a very successful meeting, with five sessions and 14 papers, and on behalf of Richard Hoffmann and myself, I would like to thank the speakers and our chairs for their hard work, engaging projects, and their participation throughout the conference. Topics and methodologies ranged across the field, truly highlighting how integrative and interdisciplinary medieval environmental history has become. There were papers on how resources were used and how that use was structured: sanitation systems in England, mills in France, hunting regimes in Italy, and timber resources in Scotland. Others addressed bigger patterns of environmental interaction across time and space, including monastic manipulation of landscapes, the possible links between climate and crusades, and settlement patterns. This year, many participants were also discussing medieval ideas and knowledge—about soil structure, fish, religion, and concepts of the landscape as being part of identity.

The sources used were equally diverse, including archival sources, scientific treatises, maps, charters, dispute settlements, poetry, and epic literature. We also saw ample proof of how many different approaches are available, from archaeology, zooarchaeology, and climate sciences to textual criticism, archival research and literary analysis (and the combination of many of these, for example to determine patterns of early medieval animal disease). We welcomed familiar faces and many new colleagues to these sessions, both as participants and in the audience, and we hope that this broader community continues to grow and to provide opportunities for collaboration and for sharing new research. Look for us again in two years!

Abstracts of the papers are available for download: ENFORMA_Sessions_Kzoo_2010

Welcome to MEHN

Welcome to Medieval Environmental History Network, a networking site for those working on the environmental history of the Middle Ages.

Environmental history is a growing subdiscipline within medieval history, but those working on the topic are spread out across the globe. The time has come to bring together some of the diverse knowledge and research in the field in one place. The idea of the site is to provide links to researchers’ pages, articles / books, and conference announcements particularly aimed at medieval environmental historians. The site can also be used to facilitate exchange of teaching resources and research ideas.