Monday, April 28, 2014 -
12:15pm to 2:00pm
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Room 100F, Pierce Hall, 29 Oxford Street, Cambridge

STS Circle at Harvard

Joyce Chaplin (Harvard, History), "Early Modern Climate Science: The View from British North America"

Sandwich lunches are provided. Please RSVP to by Wednesday at 5PM the week before.

Abstract: Despite the ongoing recovery of historical evidence about changing climates, there has been less attention to how people in the past were aware of the changes, let alone that they might have generated any science about them.  Overwhelmingly, there is a contrast between what we now know and what people in the past are supposed not to have known. But in fact, during the eighteenth century, colonists in British North America did have some comprehension of the global cooling trend sometimes called “the Little Ice Age.” Moreover, some colonists, including Benjamin Franklin, generated versions of early modern climate science. Knowing this fuller history of climate science is crucial if we are to accurately place ourselves within the history of climate change and of the Anthropocene.

Biography:  Joyce E. Chaplin is the James Duncan Phillips Professor of Early American History at Harvard University. A native of California, she received her BA from Northwestern University and her MA and PhD. from the Johns Hopkins University. She was awarded a Fulbright Grant for study in the United Kingdom during the 1985-86 academic year, when she was a visiting student at the University of Oxford. A specialist in early American history, she is the author, most recently, of Round about the Earth: Circumnavigation from Magellan to Orbit (2012), and editor of Benjamin Franklin’s Autobiography: A Norton Critical Edition (2012).  She has also published many articles on topics in intellectual history, environmental history, the history of science, and maritime history.  

Contact Name: 

Shana Rabinowich

Research Areas: 

Harvard University
Center for the Environment

Address: 26 Oxford Street, 4th Floor, Cambridge
Phone: (617) 495-0368

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