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Environmental history centre launched

Academics at the Universities of St Andrews and Stirling will this week officially launch a joint research centre for environmental history, with special reference to the history of waste.

Established in October 2002 with a grant of £900,000 from the Arts and Humanities Research Board (AHRB), the Research Centre for Environmental History brings together historians, environmental scientists, ecologists, philosophers and economists from both institutions.

Determined to address both cultural and biological diversity through time, the centre will focus on the theme of waste and wastelands for the next four years.

Dr John Clark, from the University of St Andrews, is the Acting Director of the Centre. He said:

“The Centre for Environmental History will establish a unique base for international scholarship in an important field of study. Through a historical study of ‘waste’, the Centre will draw together a number of academic disciplines while addressing a fundamental human activity. Historically, the many meanings of ‘waste’ include unoccupied or uncultivated land, wilderness and desert, in addition to objects or materials that are discarded or regarded as valueless.”

The group will engage in six integrated projects over the next four years including the language of waste; cultural soils; recycling and trash culture and the management of household waste in Britain.

Acting Associate Director for the Centre, Dr Richard Oram from the University of Stirling, said:

“Environmental History addresses human interaction with the natural world through time. Given that it is generally agreed that human impact over the millennia is one of the major causes of environmental change, it is imperative that we understand not only what that impact has been, but also why it happened. Understanding the context and processes of change is vital in informing future strategic decisions that will determine the form and condition of our environment in the years ahead.'”

The launch will be held in the Fruitmarket Gallery in Edinburgh on Thursday 11 September between 7- 9pm.

Speakers at the event will include leading environmentalist Sir Crispin Tickell and founder of St Andrews Institute for Environmental History Professor Chris Smout, who is Historiographer Royal in Scotland.

ENDS

NOTE TO EDITORS:

Dr Clark is Acting Director for Dr Fiona Watson of the University of Stirling, who is currently on leave.

For further information contact:

Dr John Clark – University of St Andrews 01334 462910 Dr Richard Oram – University of Stirling 01786 467584

Issued by Beattie Media On behalf of the University of St Andrews Contact Gayle Cook on 01334 467227, mobile 07900 050 103, or email gec3@st-andrews.ac.uk Ref: Env Hist pr 090903 View the latest University news at http://www.st-andrews.ac.uk

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