Situating internationalism in the atmospheric sciences: histories, geographies, climates and change

  • Start Date: November 13, 2014 at 1:00 pm
  • End Date: November 13, 2014 at 2:00 pm
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  • Location: A100, Law and Social Sciences Building, University Park
  • Ticket Price: 0.00

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At different moments over the last 100 years, British atmospheric science has been positioned as a gateway to authoritative knowledge about the world’s diverse climates, raising questions about the nature of international cooperation and the mechanisms by which knowledge of a global atmosphere is produced and circulates.

Drawing on existing work on the politics of regional climate modelling and linking it to new research on the history of British imperial meteorology, this talk will argue for a new approach to the historical geographies of atmospheric knowledges. In the early 20th century attempts were made to make London the hub for the Empire’s weather knowledge but, paralleling broader shifts in imperial science policy, the Empire was later positioned instead as a space of collegial cooperation and an organisational corrective to Eurocentric forms of internationalism then emerging in meteorology. More recently, the global dissemination of a standardised regional climate model from the UK Met Office raises similar questions about the social technologies of standardisation, about the exercise of epistemic power ‘at a distance’, and about the interplay of local and global in the production of authoritatively global knowledge.

This talk will explore what’s at stake in connecting these historical moments.

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