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ClimateCultures: Socionatural entanglements in Little Ice Age Norway, 1500-1800

What happened the last time we encountered rapid climate change?

A glacier in a valley.

J.C Dahl, Nigardsbreen 1844, Photo: Dag Fosse / KODE.

How did people react when they faced climatical challenges similar to those we face today?

About the project

In this project, we look at the last period of major climate change in the Nordic region, the Little Ice Age 1500-1800 AD, to reconstruct natural impacts and societal responses.

Climate change is not immediately perceptible. To make climate science relevant it needs to be related to human lifeworlds. The past offers a rich repertoire of interactions between climate and culture. It provides lived experiences of people confronting climatical challenges similar to the ones we are facing today.

This project draws on lived historical experiences to situate current challenges. It researches how people in Norway adapted to the Little Ice Age. The findings will be related to current concerns through a series of “climate narration labs”. Such an endeavour requires novel forms of cooperation between the sciences, the humanities and non-academic spaces.


Current research is often limited by disciplinary fragmentation. In contrast, this project connects climatologists, historians and museum practitioners in an agenda of “big interdisciplinarity” spanning the sciences and the humanities.

The projects novel and integrated research plan covers the entire process of:

  • sampling historical records and tree-ring data,
  • integrating these archives of nature and the archives of society in a dynamic, non-determinist process, and
  • disseminating its findings in cooperation with the new Klimahuset in Olso.


The objectives of the project are threefold. It will:

  • Reconstruct how Nordic societies adapted during the last period of accelerated climatic change.
  • Establish a “socionatural” model for the research field.
  • Transgress academic settings and engage a wider public through a collaboration with Klimahuset in Oslo (The Climate House) and the NTNU University Museum.



The Research Council of Norway, contract nr. 315441.


01.10.2021 to 30.09.2025.

Published Apr. 15, 2021 2:14 PM - Last modified Apr. 22, 2021 5:30 PM