J6.1 Climate and history: an ethnohistorian's epistemology

Wednesday, 26 January 2011: 4:00 PM
4C-4 (Washington State Convention Center)
William B. Carter, South Texas College, McAllen, TX

This paper presents an ethnohistorian's ways of knowing how, and in what ways, weather and climate influenced Indigenous North American societies and Europeans in North America before the nineteenth century. Since the end of the Pleistocene, 10,000 years ago, climate played an enormous role in people's daily lives, from its influence on their food, clothing, and shelter to its impact on politics, economic life, world view, and migrations. Major shifts in climate at times resulted in pivotal cultural and ecological changes that led to the creation of new societies and new economic networks, while other societies and trade networks vanquished. The scope of this topic demands interdisciplinary approaches, theory, evidence, and rigorous comparative scrutiny. The model framing the project not only promotes a means for communicating across research disciplines; it also illustrates ways by which cross-disciplinary analysis corroborates, enhances, and advances our separate and collective ways of knowing more about the intersections of climate and societies over such a vast scale of the human past.
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