A Conversation with Dr. Sam White
In the second episode of the Climate History Podcast, Dr. Dagomar Degroot interviews the co-founder and co-administrator of the Climate History Network: Dr. Sam White of Ohio State University. Professor White is one of the most innovative and respected environmental historians of the "Little Ice Age," a period of climatic cooling that, according to some definitions, affected most of the world from the fourteenth through the nineteenth centuries.
Professor White's first book, The Climate of Rebellion in the Early Modern Ottoman Empire, was published by Cambridge University Press in 2011. In it, Professor White uses interdisciplinary methods and sources to explore how climatic cooling and drying shaped the history of the Ottoman Empire. The book won the Middle East Studies Association Albert Hourani award, the Turkish Studies Association Fuat Köprülü award, and the British-Kuwaiti Friendship Society prize for the best book in Middle East and Turkish studies. Professor White has also written award-winning articles, including one entitled "From Globalized Pigs to Capitalist Pigs: A Study in Animals Cultures and Evolutionary History," which was published in the journal Environmental History in 2011. It won the American Society for Environmental History Leopold-Hildy Prize and the Agricultural History Association Wayne D. Rasmussen Award. More recently, Professor White has received major fellowships to write a book that traces how climate change influenced the early settlement of North America. It is currently under contract with Harvard University Press.
In this episode, Professors Degroot and White discuss the origins and future of their Climate History Network; the prospects for climate history as a discipline; the possibilities and pitfalls of interdisciplinary research; the enduring value of the "Little Ice Age" concept, and much more. They also announce some good news for their network, which will let them expand its online presence and improve the sound quality of these podcasts.
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Shortly after this was recorded, Dr. White and other climate historians hoped to attend a conference in Paris that would have honored Dr. Emmanuel Le Roy Ladurie, a founder of their field. The conference was cancelled in the wake of the atrocities on Friday. Our thoughts are with the victims and their families.