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Colloquium: Climate, Environment and Migration in Historical Perspective

April 25, 2019 · 144 Louis A. Simpson International Building

Climate Change and History Research Initiative

Climate change and migration define the contemporary human experience. Climate change affects worldwide human societies through diverse non-linear trajectories. One of these is the major displacement of people from vulnerable communities in the form of mass migration.

Scholars have begun to identify contemporary cases in which climate change is causally linked – sometimes problematically – to such mass population displacement (e.g. the Syrian Civil War, Mexican immigration). Whereas a great deal of attention and effort is focused on this work, the investigation of earlier episodes of climate-induced migration is far less developed. Recent research, however, has been improving the precision of reconstructed past climatic conditions around the world, offering scholars the opportunity to explore fresh questions by using the past to learn more about the present and vice versa. The findings from both contemporary and historical case studies have the potential to influence policy makers, while increasing awareness of this often-unnoticed aspect of climate change among the scholarly and general public.

CCHRI acknowledges the generous support of the Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies, the Center for Collaborative History, Department of Near Eastern Studies M. Munir Ertegun Turkish Studies Foundation, the Committee for the Study of Late Antiquity, Princeton Environmental Institute, the Humanities Council, the Program in the Ancient World.

Full schedule

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