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WS: John Haldon & Oikos: Climate Change and Resilience in Transdisciplinary Research

When Jun 12, 2019
from 10:00 to 01:00
Where Kleiner Seminarraum, Neues Schloss Senckenbergstrasse 1, 35394 Gießen
Contact Name
Contact Phone +49 641 / 99-30 053
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Climate Change and Resilience in Transdisciplinary Research
Wednesday, 12th June 2019
Kleiner Seminarraum, Neues Schloss
Senckenbergstrasse 1, 35394 Gießen

Researchers have long acknowledged that due to its complexity, the challenge of climate change cannot be met within the bounds of traditional academic disciplines. Within the natural sciences alone, the field of “Climate Science” encompasses disciplines like geology, physics, biology and more. In what has come to be called the Anthropocene, climate change even transcends the most basic distinctions between nature and society, or nature and culture. Therefore, efforts have been made to coordinate cross-disciplinary projects involving both the natural and social sciences as well as the humanities.

This workshop aims to explore some of the difficulties of working on climate change in a cross-disciplinary context, and to share how these difficulties were overcome in one case study of the “Climate Change and History Research Initiative” (based at Princeton University). In this research project,
researchers from disciplines as diverse as History, Archeology, Geo-Engineering, and Climatology explored the ways in which the political, economic and social history of the Byzantine empire is entwined with, and
shaped by, the weather conditions of their environment. Together with Prof. John Haldon (Princeton University, Project Director), Prof. Jürg Luterbacher (JLU, Team Member) and Dr. Elena Xoplaki (JLU, Team Member), we will discuss the potential and surplus of such an alliance between science and humanities, as well as the difficulties and limits of such endeavors, for example when it comes to finding a ‘common language’, research questions, and methodological framework in the ‘contact zones’ between disciplines.

We welcome participants from across various disciplines. To register for the workshop, please send an email to

//Elena Xoplaki (Department of Geography, JLU), Jürg Luterbacher (Department of Geography JLU), John Haldon (History Department, Princeton University)


  • E. Xoplaki , J. Luterbacher, J. Haldon et al. “The Medieval Climate Anomaly and Byzantium: A review of the evidence on climatic fluctuations, economic performance and societal change.” Quaternary Science Reviews 136 (2016): 229-252.
  • T. Toivanen, K. Lummaa, A. Majava et al. “The many Anthropocenes: A transdisciplinary challenge for the Anthropocene research.” The Anthropocene Review 2017, Vol. 4(3): 183-198.


Further reading recommendations:

  • A. Izdebski, J. Luterbacher, E. Xoplaki et al. “Realising consilience: How better communication between archaeologists, historians and natural scientists can transform the study of past climate change in the Mediterranean.” Quaternary Science Reviews 2016, Vol. 136: 5-22.
  • J. Haldon, E. Xoplaki et al.: “The Climate and Environment of Byzantine Anatolia: Integrating Science, History, and Archaeology.” Journal of Interdisciplinary History 2014, Vol. 45 (2): 113-161.



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