How disasters begin and the Little Ice Age came about (14c to today): Sericulture, Mongols and Ming politics.
This lecture tackles the historical construction of weather as disaster. The genre of Local Gazetteers (difang zhi 地方誌) records a considerable number of disasters for the period of the Yuan-dynasty (1279-1368). The political nature of these data is well known and yet, scientists from the early 20th to the 21st era of anthropocene debates have used them, not only to advance their political agenda, but also their sciences. My talk will lead you through the way in which contemporary actors of the Yuan, Ming historians and Chinese scientists from Zhu Kezhen to modern climatologists and historians produce(d) and use(d) ideas about weather and disaster. My focus will be on the changing relations such actors draw between local knowledge, history and imperial cosmology, i.e. since the 20th c also „local knowledge“, historical analysis and geology and climate science.