Jun 1, 2018
Nature and the Writing of History
- 17:00 to 19:00
- Anthropocene Lectures
- Dept. I
- Prasannan Parthasarathi (Boston College)
The neglect of the environment stands in sharp contrast to the embrace by historians of other “turns” in the last 50 years. The social history turn of the 1960s still remains at the center of the discipline, although reconfigured by the linguistic and cultural turns. The gender turn has also dramatically reshaped the core of the discipline, as has the postcolonial. More recently the imperial and global turns have had a profound and widespread impact. Environmental history has not had a similar impact because, in contrast to other recent turns , the environmental has not produced a powerful theoretical statement on the centrality of its perspective for making sense of history as a whole. This lecture provides a way out of this impasse. It presents a framework for putting the natural world at the center of the writing of history for it argues that without nature historians cannot understand time. And where is history without time?
Prasannan Parthasarathi received a PhD in economics from Harvard and is Professor of South Asian History at Boston College. He is the author of The Transition to a Colonial Economy: Weavers, Merchants and Kings in South India, 1720-1800 (Cambridge, 2001), The Spinning World: A Global History of Cotton Textiles (Oxford, 2009), and Why Europe Grew Rich and Asia Did Not: Global Economic Divergence 1600-1850 (Cambridge, 2011), which received the Jerry Bentley Book Prize of the World History Association and was named a Choice magazine outstanding academic title. He is now working on a study of agriculture and the environment in nineteenth-century South India. His articles have appeared in Past and Present, the Journal of Social History, Modern Asian Studies, and International Labor and Working Class History. He is a Senior Editor of International Labor and Working Class History and served on the editorial board of the American Historical Review.
Max-Planck-Institut für Wissenschaftsgeschichte, Boltzmannstraße 22, 14195 Berlin, Germany
Contact and Registration
The Anthropocene Lectures are open to the public. No registration required. For further information please contact Christoph Rosol.
About This Series
The Anthropocene—the geological epoch of humanity—has established itself as a key concept within a wider scientific and social discourse. In the midst of the dramatic and destabilizing changes to the basic conditions for life on our planet, new epistemic potentials for human action upon the Earth are to be explored.
In the framework of the Anthropocene Lecture series, a number of distinguished speakers accentuating the Anthropocene debate are invited to respond to a topic that will be a central challenge for many generations to come. The lectures take place at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, the Haus der Kulturen der Welt (HKW), and the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS) in Potsdam.