Cover image for The way the wind blows : climate, history, and human action
The way the wind blows : climate, history, and human action
McIntosh, Roderick J.
Publication Information:
New York : Columbia University Press, [2000]

Physical Description:
xvii, 413 pages : illustrations, maps ; 26 cm.
Reading Level:
1430 Lexile.

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
QC981.8.C5 W395 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



Scientists and policymakers are beginning to understand in ever-increasing detail that environmental problems cannot be understood solely through the biophysical sciences. Environmental issues are fundamentally human issues and must be set in the context of social, political, cultural, and economic knowledge. The need both to understand how human beings in the past responded to climatic and other environmental changes and to synthesize the implications of these historical patterns for present-day sustainability spurred a conference of the world's leading scholars on the topic. The Way the Wind Blows is the rich result of that conference.

Articles discuss the dynamics of climate, human perceptions of and responses to the environment, and issues of sustainability and resiliency. These themes are illustrated through discussions of human societies around the world and throughout history.

Author Notes

Carole L. Crumley is Professor of Anthropology at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
Jeffrey S. Dean is Professor of Dendrochronology in the Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research and Research Professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Arizona
Robert B. Dunbar is Professor of Geology and Geophysics at Stanford University
William J. Folan has served since 1981 as Director of the Center for Historical and Social Investigation at the Autonomous University of Campeche, Mexico
David A. Freidel is Professor of Anthropology at Southern Methodist University
Joel D. Gunn is an archaeologist specializing in settlement patterns and a paleoclimatologist with an applied interest in long-term historical ecology
Fekri A. Hassan is Petrie Professor of Egyptian Archaeology at the Institute of Archaeology, University College, London
Cho-yun Hsu is Professor of History and Sociology at the University of Pittsburgh and the Wei-lun Professor of History at the Chinese University of Hong Kong
John R. Johnson is Curator of Anthropology at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History
Roderick J. McIntosh is Professor of Anthropology at Rice University
Susan Keech McIntosh is Professor of Anthropology at Rice University
Justine Shaw received her Ph.D. from Southern Methodist University in 1998, on settlement patterns at Yaxuna in the Yucatan
Joseph A. Tainter is Project Leader of Cultural Heritage Research at the Rocky Mountain Research Station, Albuquerque
Tereba Togola serves as National Director of Arts and Culture for the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of the Republic of Mali
Sander van der Leeuw, Professor at the Institut d'Art et d'Archeologie of the University of Paris I (Pantheon-Sorbonne), currently heads the multidisciplinary and international Archaeomedes project, funded by the European Union

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
List of Tables
Notes on the Contributors
1 Climate, History, and Human ActionRoderick J. McIntosh and Joseph A. Tainter and Susan Keech Mc Intosh
1 Climate, Environment, and Human Action
2 Climate Variability During the Holocene: An UpdateRobert B. Dunbar
3 Complexity Theory and Sociocultural Change in the American SouthwestJeffrey S. Dean
2 Social Memory
4 Environmental Perception and Human Responses in History and PrehistoryFekri Hassan
5 Social Memory in MandeRoderick J. McIntosh
6 Memories, Abstractions, and Conceptualization of Ecological Crisis in the Mande WorldTereba Togola
7 From Garden to Globe: Linking Time and Space with Meaning and MemoryCarole L. Crumley
8 Chinese Attitudes Toward ClimateCho-yun Hsu
3 Cultural Responses to Climate Change
9 Three Rivers: Subregional Variations in Earth System Impacts in the Southwestern Maya Lowlands (Candelaria, Usumacinta, and Champoton Watersheds)Joel D. Gunn and William J. Folan
10 The Lowland Maya Civilization: Historical Consciousness and EnvironmentDavid Freidel and Justine Shaw
11 Social Responses to Climate Change Among the Chumash Indians of South Central CaliforniaJohn R. Johnson
4 History and Contemporary Affairs
12 Global Change, History and SustainabilityJoseph A. Tainter
13 Land Degradation as a Socionatural ProcessS.E. van der Leeuw and the ARCHAEOMEDES Research Team