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PREMODERN ECOLOGIES: An Interdisciplinary Conference on Human Interaction with the Natural World in
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10/20/2016 to 10/22/2016
When: Thursday, October 20, 2016
Where: University of Colorado at Boulder
United States
Contact: Scott Bruce

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This conference addresses one of the most pressing issues in the history of Western Civilization: how did past human beings interact with, exploit, control, represent, and understand their natural environment? The question is of paramount importance well beyond the study of the premodern world. The global environmental and resource crisis caused (as most people now believe) by the greed and mismanagment of modern polities has been front-page news for more than a decade.  The debate surrounding the renaming of our current historical epoch as the “anthropocene,” the era in which “geologically significant conditions and processes are profoundly altered by human activities,” has given the premodern European past a renewed relevance as the possible place of origin for the attitudes and behaviors that have resulted in modern political and economic instability.  This conference will illuminate with greater clarity many of these issues.  We invite proposals for 20-minute papers and welcome methodological approaches ranging from environmental history to eco-criticism of literature and the arts.  Please email your 250-word paper proposal to Professor Scott G. Bruce (  The deadline for proposals is June 1, 2016.

The conference is hosted by the Center for Medieval and Early Modern Studies at the University of Colorado at Boulder (CMEMS), with the support of the Center for Western Civilization (CWC), the College of Arts and Sciences, and the Departments of History and English.  Learn more about us at

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