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Climate CulturesAnthropological Perspectives on Climate Change$
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Jessica Barnes and Michael R Dove

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780300198812

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300198812.001.0001

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Historic Decentering of the Modern Discourse of Climate Change

Historic Decentering of the Modern Discourse of Climate Change

The Long View from the Vedic Sagesto Montesquieu

(p.25) Chapter 1 Historic Decentering of the Modern Discourse of Climate Change
Climate Cultures

Michael R. Dove

Yale University Press

This chapter places contemporary climate change discourse within a context of millennia of human experience with and thinking about the climate. Dove examines five canonical historic texts–works by Hippocrates, Theophrastus, Montesquieu, and Ibn Khaldûn, and an exploration of older Vedic teachings by Zimmermann. He traces common concerns through these texts: interest in the epistemology of climate knowledge; a focus on human difference versus similarity; an emphasis on the impact of nature on culture, as opposed to the reverse; the pedagogy of peopled versus unpeopled landscapes; and the removal of climate problems from ourselves. These historic studies seem both familiar and foreign to us today; and reading them helps to decenter, and thereby illuminate, contemporary thinking about climate and society.

Keywords:   Hippocrates, Montesquieu, Ibn Khaldûn, Vedic teachings, East-West and North-South dimensions of climate change, Hindu/Moslem/Christian traditions and climate change, Climate and culture history

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