Historians and climate scientists are increasingly collaborating with each other. One goal is to better understand our past climate at a higher resolution at local or regional scales. While we know much about how the climate has changed over the course of human history at a global or hemispheric level, the complicated dynamics at regional and sub-regional levels means there is much still to learn and historical evidence can help by anchoring climate events in time. Another goal is to better understand history through our knowledge of the climate by bringing paleoclimatology into historical research, especially before the twentieth century. This event will present one approach to collaboration between a historian and paleoclimatologist that draws on evidence from lakes in Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania, from new high-resolution paleoclimatological products that offer annual reconstructions of the hydroclimate drawing on proxies, and from oral traditions societies in the region. The aim of this approach is to better understand multi-decadal droughts in East Africa in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. By combining these different kinds of evidence, despite the range of uncertainties each contains, it is possible to start to develop a more granular understanding of the droughts and of the range of human response to them.
Free and open to the public; registration required to receive Zoom link. Columbia University ID holders may attend in person. Members of the public must attend virtually via Zoom. Please email [email protected] with any questions.
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