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Earth Institute Research Projects

Historicizing Hazard: An Interdisciplinary Workshop on Environmental Learning, Ignorance, and Fear

Lead PI: Deborah Coen

Unit Affiliation: Cross-Cutting Initiative (CCI)

July 2011 - December 2012
Inactive
Global ; North America
Project Type: Research

DESCRIPTION: This project sought historical perspectives on current debates regarding the tendencies of the public to over- or underestimate environmental risk: the dual problems of “apathy” or “anxiety” in the face of environmental change. The workshop featured presentations in the history of modern and pre-modern science, environmental history, sociology, and anthropology.

OUTCOMES: A participant discussion of the history of environmental knowledge among diverse publics; considering changing practices of environmental management, the variety of frameworks available for conceptualizing the relationship of self and society to the environment and to environmental learning, and providing historical data for future scientists. Only by studying the interactions of societies and environments over the long term can insights be gained into the nature and significance of “black swan” events. Ultimately, these activities would bridge scholarship in the fields of history of science and environmental history and sociological studies of risk construction, perception, and communication.

HISTORICIZING HAZARD AN INTERDISCIPLINARY WORKSHOP ON ENVIRONMENTAL LEARNING, IGNORANCE & FEAR

SPONSOR:

The Earth Institute

FUNDED AMOUNT:

$10,000

COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY COLLABORATORS:

Barnard College

EXTERNAL COLLABORATORS:

New York University; University of Washington, University of Toronto; SUNY Stonybrook, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Harvard University

KEYWORDS

disaster studies environmental hazard risk reduction risk construction communication perception

THEMES

Sustainable living