Ruling Climate: The theory and practice of environmental governmentality, 1500-1800

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Date / time
Date(s) - 16 May
9:30 am - 6:30 pm

Humanities Building, University of Warwick


‘Ruling Climate’ is a one-day conference which aims to explore the relationship between cultural perceptions of the environment and practical attempts at environmental regulation and change between 1500 and 1800.

The conference is focussed around three main themes:

– continuities and discrepancies between ancient and early modern climate theories: how were classical theories of climatic influence received and adjusted in the early modern period? How did the understanding of climate itself change over time?

 – the political significance of climate theories: how did theories of climatic influence inspire and sustain governmental efforts of various kinds, in domestic and colonial contexts? e.g. population displacement, environmental planning and public health, engineering works, siting new colonies, etc.

 – the relationship between theories of climatic influence and the development of strategies to cope with/modify climate and the environment. e.g. through agricultural improvement, increased human settlement, drainage, deforestation, etc.

The full conference website, along with online registration, can be found at