Oliver Smithies Lecture

8 March 2018, 5.00pm
Lecture Room XXIII

Dr Sara Miglietti (Oliver Smithies Visiting Lecturer (German and Romance Languages and Literature)) will give a lecture entitled ’Diet, Displacement, Environmental Change: Coping with Climatic Influence in the Early Modern Period’.

Abstract: In the previous lecture, we have seen how early modern perceptions of nature were characterised by widespread belief in climate’s power to shape the body, mind, and character of human beings. We have also seen that while the notion of climatic influence raised legitimate concerns regarding human agency and the existence of free will, early modern ‘climate theorists’ stopped short of falling into environmental determinism as they envisaged several ways of coping with climatic influence. This second lecture will provide some historical detail regarding three major coping strategies that were theorised and practiced throughout early modernity: diet, displacement, and direct environmental change.

Dr Sara Miglietti is an Assistant Professor of French Studies at Johns Hopkins University, and a Visiting Stipendiary Fellow at the Warburg Institute in London. Her current book project, ‘The Empire of Climate’, explores perceptions and manipulations of climate in the early modern period, with a special attention to the interplay between ethics, politics, and science.

The Oliver Smithies lectures are funded by a generous benefaction from Professor Oliver Smithies, which enables Balliol to bring distinguished visitors to the University of Oxford.