• Summary
  • Contents
  • Subject index

Climate is an enduring idea of the human mind and also a powerful one. Today, the idea of climate is most commonly associated with the discourse of climate-change and its scientific, political, economic, social, religious and ethical dimensions. However, to understand adequately the cultural politics of climate-change it is important to establish the different origins of the idea of climate itself and the range of historical, political and cultural work that the idea of climate accomplishes. In Weathered: Cultures of Climate, distinguished professor Mike Hulme opens up the many ways in which the idea of climate is given shape and meaning in different human cultures – how climates are historicized, known, changed, lived with, blamed, feared, represented, predicted, governed and, at least putatively, re-designed.

Historicising Climate
Historicising Climate

Ideas about climate are always situated in a time and a place. Classical Greeks understood climate − klima − differently to earlier Jewish conceptions of the weather. Early Enlightenment philosophers or today’s scientists understand climate differently to either of these earlier cultures, as do many non-western worldviews continue to conceive of climate today (see Box 1.1). Climate means different things to different people in different eras and in different places. Given the importance attached in today’s world to the phenomenon and discourse of climate-change1, it is important to develop accounts of the changing historical meanings of climate. In other words, it is necessary to historicise climate.

To historicise an idea is to interpret it as the product of historical development, to recognise ...

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