We’re excited to announce the launch of “14.7: Inquiry into Earth Atmospheres,” a new Borghesi-Mellon Public Humanities Workshop at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Our workshop provides a forum for scientists, social scientists, and humanists to develop new methods, terms, and analytical frames for inquiry into Earth’s atmosphere(s).
As a collective, we hope to deepen our investigation of Earth atmospheres to shed light on problems that no one of our disciplines can engage alone. We will investigate the practices by which corporate energy giants like Enron use climate data to commodify atmosphere and weather patterns. We will bring together insights of postcolonial and area studies with those of meteorology. We will engage meteorological research showing that basic atmospheric mechanisms like heating and cooling occur via different dynamics in the tropics and the poles. We will explore multiple intersecting planetary atmospheres that challenge what Kristen Simmons has called “settler atmospherics,” a monologic account of atmosphere manifest as monoculturalism. We hope you will join us.
By Dr Hieu Phung, online, 6 October 2022, 20:00 SGT (UTC+8)
ICHM Annual Seminar Series
Join us for the first of our new online seminar series on 6th October when the environmental historian Dr Hieu Phung (Rutgers University) will be speaking about her research on the history of meteorology in Vietnam.
Between 1000 and the 1850s, meteorological knowledge and practices of the Vietnamese were strongly associated with wet rice cultivation. The authorities maintained official agencies to produce yearly calendars that traced proper timing for rice crops, while the populace accumulated experience-based knowledge about seasonal rainfall. But weather extremes and other natural anomalies were not merely natural processes. They were also “Heaven-sent” warnings of cosmological disasters that demanded for moral and political change. While crossing dendrochronological reconstruction with historical records have recently generated new understandings of the past climate patterns, a deeper level of contextualization is a must to unfold the cultural script embedded in the climate-related information from historical sources.
Dr Hieu Phung is an environmental historian who investigates the impacts of local culture and statecraft on the preindustrial environment, especially on water and climate. She has recently joined Rutgers University Department of Asian Languages and Cultures as an Assistant Professor of Global Studies-Asia. Her research focuses on the history of Vietnam and Southeast Asia during the transition from the Medieval Climate Anomaly (c. 800/950–1250/1300) to the Little Ice Age (c. 1300–1850). In pursuing environmental history, she engages with the study of space, maps, and texts that reveal the construction of premodern geographic knowledge. She is working on a book project entitled “Heavenly Drought: Natural Anomalies and State-Building in Fifteenth-Century Vietnam.” Her recent publications include “Naming the Red River – Becoming a Vietnamese River” and “Meteorology in Vietnam, Pre-1850.”
By Zhenghong Chen, ICHM Vice-President and China Regional Representative
From December 7 to 8, 2021, the China Meteorological Administration Training Centre held the 5th National Conference on the History of Meteorological Science and Technology, by onsite and online methods in Beijing. Dr. Alexander Hall, President of ICHM in 2021, wrote to the China Representative to support the conference and extend his best wishes.
By Robert Naylor, Centre for the History of Science, Technology and Medicine, University of Manchester
In the summer of 2019, when the idea of doing a PhD during a global pandemic was furthest from my mind, I had the pleasure of attending the Meteorological Technology World Expo in Geneva, Switzerland. It was a dynamic, somewhat chaotic event that reflected a rapidly growing market for weather products. There were companies that manufactured weather balloons, rain gauges, anemometers, aluminium masts, instrument shelters, radars, lidars, and all other kinds of gadgets. Other companies sold services, offering solutions in, for example, instrument installation, environmental measuring, data management, and calibration. Some simply sold information, often drawing from their existing monitoring networks; ‘only well-informed decision makers can face these challenges [climate change, environmental protection, conscious management of natural resources] and form adequate strategies to overcome them’ claimed one advertisement.[i] With around 150 companies attending in its eighth year, the expo was a showcase of a relatively young industry that was on the up.
Online Conference, September 15, 2021, 8:50-16:30 UTC
As part of the celebrations for the 20th anniversary of the International Commission for the History of Meteorology we hosted an online conference over two separate time zone sessions on Wednesday 15 September 2021.
The International Commission for the History of Meteorology was founded in 2001 at the 21st International Congress of History of Science in Mexico City. Since then, we have supported numerous workshops and events, and sponsored major meetings in Polling, Germany in 2004; Beijing, China in 2005; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 2008 and 2017; Waterville, Maine, USA and Budapest, Hungary in 2009; Manchester, England in 2013; and Prague, Czech Republic (Online) in July 2021.
To commemorate our 20th anniversary, member Robert Naylor has been recording interviews with those involved in various roles with ICHM over the last two decades. Please click below to watch the wonderful video he has created to commemorate our anniversary!
Please do share the video with any friends, colleagues or other networks who may be interested in learning more about the work of ICHM. If you’re sharing on social media, you may prefer to use this shorter version.
You can find out more information about the commemorative online conference on the “Past, Present, and Future of the History of Meteorology” that we’re hosting on 15 Sept 2021, here. The call for papers closes on July 15, 2021.
As this is my final year as President of ICHM, I’d like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for their support over the last 4 years. We’ll be announcing all of the new Officers soon, so keep any eye on your inboxes.
2021 marks the 20th anniversary of the International Commission for the History of Meteorology (ICHM) within the International Union of History and Philosophy of Science and Technology. In celebration, ICHM will be holding an online conference reflecting on our discipline as a whole.
The ICHM was founded in 2001 at the 21st International Congress of History of Science in Mexico City. Since then, it has sponsored large specialty meetings in Polling, Germany in 2004; Beijing, China in 2005; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 2008 and 2017; Waterville, Maine, USA and Budapest, Hungary in 2009; Manchester, England in 2013; and Prague, Czech Republic, scheduled for 2021.
In part thanks to the commission, the history of meteorology has expanded its remit considerably, incorporating the work of academics from a wide range of institutional and disciplinary backgrounds. Echoing this development, and as reflected in the pages of ICHM’s journal History of Meteorology, the topics of the history of meteorology have become ever more diverse, including new turns towards colonial and applied meteorology. This anniversary conference provides an occasion to take stock and turn our gaze inward.
We welcome papers exploring past and current trajectories of the history of meteorology, with an emphasis on how our discipline can develop in the future. These could include reflections on our institutional shaping, pedagogical development, research turns, new initiatives, and interactions with the history of science, technology, and medicine as a whole and with the atmospheric humanities, broadly defined. As well as being a critical academic conference, this event will also be a celebration of ICHM. It will bring our community together, in scholarship and friendship, at a time when a physical meeting is difficult, connecting early career scholars with more established researchers in the field and ensuring the history of meteorology’s bright future.
Deadline for abstracts (250 words): July 15, 2021
Format: 15-minute presentation followed by 15-minutes of discussion.
Registration information for non-presenting participants will be circulated at a later date.
We welcome pre-recorded contributions if you are unable to attend live due to different time zones, and we are also willing to work with you to accommodate for your sleep schedule (e.g. putting your paper towards the end of the conference if you are on the US west coast).
Separate to the conference, we are also interested in compiling and perhaps circulating personal stories from ICHM’s history, whether it involved beer gardens in Polling, samba dancing in Rio, or lobster in Maine.
On January 16, 2018, a diverse group of scholars including art historians, literature experts and historians of science met at the Musée Delacroix in Paris for a workshop entitled: “Peindre les nuages, de l’aube des Lumières au crépuscule du romantisme” (or Painting the clouds, from the dawn of the Enlightenment to the twilight of romanticism).
Sponsored by ICHM, below the workshop organiser Anouchka Vasak summarises and reflects on the meeting. For a full schedule of the event, please scroll down.