msb ~013 On anticipatory history

On anticipatory history

Anticipatory history – edited by Caitlin DeSilvey, Simon Naylor & Colin Sackett

A year ago on ClimateCultures, I discussed a book I’d first encountered in 2011 and have been using ever since. Anticipatory history arose from an interdisciplinary network, exploring possibilities in ‘looking back’ at environmental change to help us ‘look forward’ to what futures we might shape. I was doing my MA Climate Change at the time and, in the network’s latter stages, I was able to contribute some work on ‘storying adaptation’ to their final symposium.

I described the book as being ‘process, product and provocation’ because of how: it first arose as a means of clarifying and exploring how terminology and everyday language can result in the same words meaning different things for the very different disciplines and practices working together in such networks; the ‘glossary’ this exercise became provides an informative and portable set of viewpoints from which readers can look across our changing landscapes and wildlife; and the inevitably partial nature of such a slim, subjective and provisional book challenges our perspectives and invites us to revisit it, to add our voices and expand the conversation.

I still enjoy picking the book off my mental bookshelf and slipping its ideas and examples into conversations.

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