Reply To: September 22: Sverker Sörlin's History is a Nightmare

Start Forums Courses Current Debates and Themes in Global Environmental History September 22: Sverker Sörlin's History is a Nightmare Reply To: September 22: Sverker Sörlin's History is a Nightmare

Author Replies # Posted on September 23, 2014 at 10:36

Sorlin Reflection: Sept 22.

The introduction chapter by Sverker Sorlin prompted an interesting discussion among us about the field of global environmental history. We have danced around this topic before with similarly confusing conclusions, but I found it rather interesting to go back to the basics again after a year or so of education in this field. With a bit more information we still circled around the key concepts and struggled to find ways to define this discipline that was inclusive and exclusive enough for everyone. I suppose I like this murky side to global environmental history. From my perspective it allows more interdisciplinary exchanges when the outlines are loose, and the interdisciplinary nature of global environmental history is what gives it such potential.

As I stated in lecture a number of times, the quote which I highlighted “history fundamentally reflected the preoccupations, interests, and anxieties of the society in which it was written” (2) helped me give my understandings of the origins of environmental history a new dimension. I find ideas that I implicitly know to be true but have never concretely reflected on myself can sometimes add a helpful concrete perspective to my understandings. While I have never thought of history in precisely this manner, it really does make sense to think of it as such, and helped give me a better way to understand the development of global environmental history in particular. As we discussed in seminar, issues surrounding and dealing with nature are not new to the past 200 years, but this discipline is a baby compared to others. At least now I have reached a comfortable way to understand its development. We will see how long that lasts until I am confronted with some other new information that sends everything spiraling into chaos again.

I also found Sorlin’s discussion of expertise to be an interesting categorization process. I wonder if it will add anything substantial to how I consider education and authority to think along the lines of ‘contributory v. interactional v. beer mat’ . I am curious to find out in any event.