New Directions in Environmental History, Part 2: Drought and Deluge in History

AHA Session 114
Friday, January 6, 2017: 10:30 AM-12:00 PM
Centennial Ballroom F (Hyatt Regency Denver, Third Floor)
Samuel White, Ohio State University
Lawrence Culver, Utah State University

Session Abstract

This panel will explore droughts and floods throughout history, with a focus on the meaning of past experiences for a country and a region facing accelerating climatic change. Its participants and papers reflect the wide range of methods and approaches now available to reconstruct past climate, extreme weather, disasters, and to understand their role in history. The first presentation, by archaeologist Arlene Rosen, addresses the combination of environmental and human factors involved in flooding and landscape change in Han China. The second, by historian Adam Sundberg, examines an example of severe flooding in the early modern Netherlands as a case study in disaster response and memory. The third, by historian Michael Christopher Low, explores the technopolitical side of drought adaptation in a study that bridges two arid regions: the Middle East and the American West. The final paper, by dendroclimatologist Peter Brown, explains the techniques of tree ring-based reconstruction of drought and streamflow in the Southwest and some of its implications for past and present.