Project (2020)

Studying Agricultural Meteorology Through its Publications: Investigating the Creation of an Interdisciplinary Research Field Through Bibliographic Data

Agricultural meteorology is the science that studies how weather factors affect crop growth and livestock performance. At the beginning of the twentieth century this science developed at the intersection of several research fields, such as meteorology, agronomy, and ecology, and across geographic borders, because improving the resilience of agricultural systems against weather events was a common goal in the East and in the West. Due to the interdisciplinary nature and geographic diffusion of agricultural meteorology, tracing its global history is a difficult task. In particular, one needs to go beyond archival research on specific actors and close reading limited to a few publications to understand how this field globally developed at the intersection of different research areas ranging from meteorology to geography.

As part of my current research project on the history of agricultural meteorology in the first half of the twentieth century, I have been collecting an extensive bibliography of publications on agricultural meteorology printed in over twenty languages. Using Python coding and data science methods, I will mine this bibliography and individuate authors and institutions, themes, and publication outlets in agricultural meteorology. I want to use these data to discuss how agricultural meteorology emerged from research traditions that relied not only on different theoretical frameworks, but also on different instrumentation and scientific practices.