Climate Change and History Research Initiative

  • The CCHRI, in partnership with Princeton's Environmental History Lab of the Program in Medieval Studies, and with the generous support of Princeton's Humanities Council, will launches a new series of six online seminars entitled “Past Answers to Current Concerns: Approaches to Understanding Histori
  • In close collaboration with partners from Turkey and Germany, the CCHRI is setting up a new research programme to study the social-environmental dynamics of the Meander valley during the last two thousand years. The Meander - in Turkish, Büyük Menderes - is the longest river of Western Anatolia.
  • During COVID-19 and the disrupted schedules most of us have experienced, the CCHRI has put together a talk series in collaboration with Princeton University's Medieval Studies with the support of the Humanities Council.
  • We are glad to announce that the CCHRI will be running an intensive introductory workshop at ANAMED, Istanbul, in September 2021 (provisionally rescheduled from Sept. 2020 because of COVID-19).
  • We are glad to announce that the application by several members of the CCHRI core team to launch a Pursuit at SESYNC (the National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center - US) has been successful. A SESYNC Pursuit consists of a group of interdisciplinary scholars who all focus on the same question.
  • The Princeton University Climate Change and History Research Initiative is delighted to announce the launch of a new series in collaboration with Oxford University Press!   Entitled: Interdisciplinary Approaches to premodern societies and environments, the series aims at a global historical and geographical cov
  • 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.

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

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

Introductory Workshop at the Research Centre for Anatolian Civilisations, Koç University

Mon, Sep 6, 2021 (All day) to Tue, Sep 7, 2021 (All day)

The CCHRI will be running a two-day introductory workshop for junior scholars at the Research Centre for Anatolian Civilisations, Koç University...

CCHRI annual colloquium: Health and environment in premodernity (in Georgetown University)

Wed, Oct 6, 2021, 8:00 am to Thu, Oct 7, 2021, 8:00 pm

The CCHRI's 2020 annual colloquium will take place at Georgetown University. The colloquium's title is Health and environment in...