Friday, April 20, 2018

Sunburnt Country review: Joelle Gergis on a fraught future with climate change

Sunburnt Country by Joëlle Gergis.
More than half a century ago, the French historian Ferdinand Braudel issued a challenge to historians, arguing the time had come to look past the business of nations and empires and their narratives of progress, and instead engage with what he termed the longue duree.

Likening the social time of traditional history to "a surface disturbance" or "waves stirred up by the powerful movement of tides", he argued the time had come to try to explore what he called geographical time, in the hope of divining the deeper currents that flow through human affairs, shaping them across generations, centuries, even millennia.

As the historian Tom Griffiths has observed, Braudel's formulation has taken on new urgency in recent years. As our impact on the planet has grown the division between geological time and human time has collapsed, demanding we recognise the radical interconnectedness of processes, phenomena, even ideas we would once have regarded as separate. As temperatures rise and icecaps melt, it is no longer possible to pretend the business of our everyday lives and their dependence upon cheap energy does not have planetary implications, or that the planet's changing climate will not affect us personally and collectively.

Read the review by James Bradley from today’s Age - “Sunburnt Country review: Joelle Gergis on a fraught future with climate change.”

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