Climate Variability and Food (In)Security in Medieval and Early Modern Europe

  • Date: –16:00
  • Location: SCAS, Thunbergssalen Linneanum, Thunbergsvägen 2, Uppsala
  • Lecturer: Fredrik Charpentier Ljungqvist, Pro Futura Scientia Fellow, SCAS. Associate Professor of History, Stockholm University. Researcher, Bolin Centre for Climate Research, Stockholm University.
  • Website
  • Organiser: Swedish Collegium for Advanced Study (SCAS)
  • Contact person: Stina Grånäs
  • Phone: 018-557085
  • Seminarium

The lecture will summarise Prof. Fredrik Charpentier Ljungqvist's preliminary findings from two forthcoming articles, both part of his interdisciplinary project “Disentangling socio-political and climatic factors for food insecurity in early modern Europe (c. 1500–1800)”.

I will begin with an overview of state-of-the-art scholarship linking climate changes to human history in medieval and early modern Europe (e.g., through impacts on agricultural productivity). The talk will demonstrate how disciplinary boundaries, and knowledge gaps arising from limited interaction between natural and human sciences, have hampered this recently expanding research field. I will then present new findings about how climate variability was a driving force behind grain price variability across Europe c. 1500–1800. These new results reveal stronger longterm effects of temperature variability on historical grain prices in Europe than previously thought. Such a conclusion implies that temperature variability has been a more important factor in European economic history, even in southern Europe, than commonly acknowledged.

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