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Title: Mastering the climate : theories of environmental influence in the long seventeenth century
Author: Miglietti, Sara
ISNI:       0000 0004 5992 8129
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2016
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The present dissertation discusses the relationship between cultural constructions of climate and practical attempts at regulating the latter’s perceived influence on human beings in the ‘long’ seventeenth century—a time of crucial historical and intellectual changes. Drawing upon a broad range of printed and manuscript sources written in various languages (including travel accounts, missionary letters, scientific papers, political treatises, and medical writings), the research presented here reconstructs the long-term success of classical ‘climate theories’ and the concrete behaviours that these theories inspired in early modern Europe and the American colonies. By investigating the various strategies that were used to cope with, and capitalize on, the perceived influence of climate, the dissertation challenges common characterizations of climate theory as a form of determinism. After a preliminary chapter about the origins, transmission, and circulation of climate theory in its multiple and conflicting forms, the following chapters each explore a different way of negotiating climatic influence in the ‘long’ seventeenth century, notably diet and lifestyle (Chapter 2), geographical displacement (Chapter 3), and environmental engineering (Chapter 4). The ‘Epilogue’ then briefly looks at post-seventeenth-century developments before drawing some general conclusions about the historical evolution and cultural significance of early-modern climate theories. Situating itself at the intersection of several disciplinary fields (including intellectual history, reception studies, and the history of medicine and science), this dissertation examines, on the one hand, the interplay of environmental ideas and practices in specific historical contexts; and, on the other hand, the acquisition, transmission, and circulation of environmental knowledge at, and across, different socio-cultural levels. It thus raises questions of tradition and innovation, consistency and diversity, ‘learned’ and ‘popular’ culture, investigating the ways in which epistemic paradigms are formed and transformed across time and space.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: University of Warwick ; Institute of Historical Research ; University of London
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: B Philosophy (General) ; Q Science (General)