Innovation and Its Unexpected Effects: Why a Historical Perspective Matters in the Climate Crisis

Podcast discussants: Iva Pesa (History, Groningen) and Sarah Dry (writer and historian of science)

Two photos showing each speaker

The flip side of the history of innovation is the history of failure. What and why do we learn—or not learn—from past failures? What would a history of innovation from the ground-up look like? What is the relationship between innovation, personal responsibility or agency, and state or corporate actors in our case studies? How and in what way have attempts to foster innovation opened doors for new forms of exploitation? The conversation will explore these questions drawing on Iva’s historical research into mining and frugal innovations, including but not limited to her work on the copperbelt project, and Sarah’s work on the status of climate/weather authority in Victorian Britain, and on global and climate models, considering the ways in which they have and have not delivered on their initial promise as innovative technologies.

photo of mining town with small hill


Climate Crisis Thinking in the Humanities and Social SciencesTORCH Networks