Environmental historians, like others who study and write about the environment, have long worked with the emotional and psychological impact of environmental change, including grief, anxiety, rage, and despair.
What do we do with that emotion? How do we write about the psychological components of human interactions with other species? Do we experience secondary effects of the trauma so often entwined around the historical experience of the environment? In what ways does emotion separate and connect us with other species? How does time make for particular emotional tolls – or discounts – for historians?
Please join a diverse panel of historians who work on drought, flood, climate change and ecological anxiety, as they discuss these themes, looking for clarity, community, and relief.
This event is in partnership between the Sydney Environment Institute and the Australian and New Zealand Environmental History Network (AANZEHN).
Margaret Cook is a history lecturer at the University of the Sunshine Coast. Her research interests are ‘natural’ disasters. She is the author of A River with a City Problem: A History of Brisbane Floods (University of Queensland Press 2019) and co-editor (with Scott McKinnon) of Disasters in Australia and New Zealand: Historical Approaches to Understanding Catastrophe (Palgrave 2020).
Nancy Cushing is an Associate Professor in History at the University of Newcastle on Awabakal and Darkinjung country. An environmental historian whose interests span human-other animal relations and energy, she was co-editor of Animals Count: How Population Size Matters in Animal-Human Relations (Routledge 2018) and is on the executives of the AANZEHN and AHA.
James Dunk is a historian of medicine and psychology and a Research Fellow in the School of Philosophical and Historical Inquiry at the University of Sydney, on Gadigal land. His research explores how the physical environment has figured in mental health. He is the author of Bedlam at Botany Bay (NewSouth, 2019) and his writing has been published in medical and history journals as well as in Australian Book Review and Griffith Review.
Andrea Gaynor (Chair) is an Associate Professor at the University of Western Sydney and Director of the Centre for Western Australian History within the School of Humanities. As an environmental historian, she provides essential context and knowledge for understanding the causes and complexities of some of the most pressing issues facing society today.
Rebecca Jones is a historian of climate, agriculture, health and resilience. Her research integrates environmental history and contemporary rural and mental health in the late nineteenth, twentieth and twenty-first centuries. She has experience both as an academic and as a public historian. She is the author of Slow Catastrophes: Living with Drought in Australia (Monash University Publishing 2017).