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Atmospheric Archives: Gender and Climate Knowledge in Colonial Tasmania

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There is a rich cache of letters detailing the production of climate knowledge at Tasmania's Hobart Observatory in the early nineteenth century. By contrast, a mere handful of sentences survive in the written record to describe the production of climate knowledge outside the Hobart Observatory, in Tasmania's north-east. In this paper, I confront the question of what to do with these unbalanced archival remains. I draw on the work of social and cultural historians as well as historians of colonialism and science to advocate a three-pronged methodology for approaching the problem of the unbalanced atmospheric archives. The application of this methodology, I show, reveals the way gender relations shaped the way atmospheric knowledge was both produced and used by historical actors in colonial Tasmania.

Keywords: Aboriginal; climate; knowledge; observatory; women

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: May 1, 2021

More about this publication?
  • Environment and History is an interdisciplinary journal which aims to bring scholars in the humanities and biological sciences closer together, with the deliberate intention of constructing long and well-founded perspectives on present day environmental problems.

    Environment and History has a Journal Impact Factor (2022) of 1.1. 5 Year Impact Factor: 1.1.
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