Seminar

The 2013 seminar will consider two historic challenges that have profound implications for the future: humanity’s relationship to climate change, and the drive to create new forms of global governance. It is premised on the idea that lessons from earlier efforts to communicate environmental risk and marshal an international response can help in the development of more effective strategies for adaptation and mitigation. The initiative hopes to help train a new generation of researchers and policy-makers who understand both the development of climate science and the changing nature of world politics.

The program begins with a “total immersion” period: two weeks of daily classes, in which students learn about historical research methods and discuss key readings in the field. This includes not only classic and cutting-edge works from the history of science and technology, but also the contemporary archive of new scientific research, official reports, and public policy debates. At the close of these two weeks, a handful of outside experts join together with the students and faculty in a two-day workshop. The co-teachers and invited experts will identify promising opportunities for research and suggest individual and collaborative projects to be pursued over the course of the summer.

During the subsequent nine weeks, students conduct archival research, interviews, and computational analysis. At the same time, they attend resource workshops, helping them develop skills in archival research, conducting oral interviews, giving conference-style presentations, and refining their writing skills for publication. Students meet weekly to discuss their progress with the co-teachers.

Each week of the summer, the program will bring in a leading researcher or policymaker to speak with students prior to giving a public lecture at the university. Speakers are invited to discuss their research and career trajectories with the group, in addition to hearing about the students’ own research projects. Following the discussion, students attend the public lecture. Those who are abroad doing their research participate via webcam and watch the lecture live-streamed on the program website.

In August, the class reconvenes for a final week of daily meetings. Participants present their research and discuss their findings with classmates and professors. After further revision, students submit their papers. Over the following year, students may have the opportunity to continue to collaborate with senior personnel in co-authoring research articles for submission to peer-reviewed journals.

For the private participant-only page, click here.