The Floral Archive: Climate, Empire, and the Problem of Scale

Speaker

Deborah R. Coen
Professor of History and Chair of History of Science and Medicine, Yale University

Abstract

Among all the sophisticated new tools introduced in the nineteenth century for scaling the climate—for understanding the weather of the here-and-now in relation to large-scale, long-term processes—none proved quite as effective as nature’s own climatic indicators: plants. The achievement of botanist Anton Kerner von Marilaun (1831-1898) was to grasp that radical climatic shifts might be a part of the Earth’s future as well as its past, and to offer his contemporaries, scientist and non-scientist alike, the tools to imagine how familiar living things might react to a more or less radical shift in climate.

The Environment Forum at the Mahindra Center is convened by Robin Kelsey (Dean of Arts and Humanities, Harvard University) and Ian Jared Miller (Professor of History, Harvard University).

Free and open to the public. Seating is limited.

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