JRG "Facing Famine"
Historisches Seminar
Grabengasse 3-5
69117 Heidelberg

Sandgasse 7
Room: 17-20
Phone +49 6221 54-6561

JRG - Facing Famine

Junior Research Group
Environment and Society
Facing Famine in the Early Modern World

The JRG investigates the co-development and entanglement of society and environment focussing on early modern food crises. The JRG is interdisciplinary in scope and combines approaches of environmental history, historical climatology, social ecology and postcolonial studies. Rather than following established dichotomies of natural and political impacts the research group advances an integrated approach, drawing on the emerging field of “vulnerability studies” as a boundary concept to link climate reconstruction and cultural history. The group researches what happens when historical societies encounter extreme climate events. What coping strategies, fields of conflict, and patterns of interpretation are revealed by these “normal exceptions” of agrarian societies? How do the natural environment and societal behaviour interact? One empirical field chosen are the early 1770s – a peak of the Little Ice Age – marked by simultaneous severe famines in Europe, India and Central America. Combining new methodology with interdisciplinary approaches, the project will illustrate how past societies “socialised” extreme climate events and provide historical expertise for current debates on climate change and -catastrophes.


Silbermedaille von 1773

J. L. Oexlein, silver medal 1773, commemorating the famine of 1770-72 in Europe, linking climate and religion. Sammlung Brettauer.





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Latest Revision: 2022-05-11
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