Professor Paul Warde
After completing a degree in History and PhD at Cambridge, I was a Junior Research Fellow at Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge (1999-2001) before moving on to a lectureship at Pembroke College, Cambridge (2001-2007). Subsequently I worked at the University of East Anglia (2007-2014), first as a Reader in Early Modern History and then as Professor of Environmental History, before returning to Cambridge in January 2015.
I work on environmental, economic and social history. My interests focus on natural resource use and its role in shaping societies and economic development, and particularly energy and fuel. 2018 has seen the publication of two major works on the history of environmental and economic thought, The Invention of Sustainability: Nature and Destiny 1500-1870 (Cambridge University Press) and The Environment: a History of the Idea (Johns Hopkins University Press), the latter written with Libby Robin and Sverker Sorlin.
Current work includes studies on fuel use in industrialising England (16th-19th centuries); on energy use in Sweden during the 20th century, especially its northern counties; and on changes in the efficiency of industrial energy use in Europe and North America and its relation with productivity. I am developing a longer term project on how people obtained resources from the land and sea in Ireland and Britain from the 16th to the 20th centuries, and the impact of these activities on social life and people's relations with the environment, both on a national and a community scale. Case studies will cover areas from a Hebridean island to the fens of Cambridgeshire, from what is now inner-city Manchester to Yorkshire fishing villages and Irish ports and farming communities. This will examine the differentiated experience of regions, communities and the natural world around them, and their relations with the wider world, during the course of economic change.
I have published and edited many books, articles and chapters, primarily on the history of early modern and modern Europe. These include works on peasant societies in early modern Europe, and their use and exchange of commodities, especially wood, and the effects on management of the land and forests; on the Industrial Revolution and the scale and consequences of shifts from 'traditional' energy carriers to fossil fuels and new renewable forms of energy supply; on energy and resources embodied in traded goods, especially during the 'First Globalisation' period of c.1870-1930s; on early modern economic thought; and on common property systems.
I am Research Director of the Centre for History and economics, Magdalene College, University of Cambridge; and the Cambridge Group for the History of Population and Social Structure.
I am currently supervising five PhD students: one on the history of the south-west of England's transatlantic fisheries in the 16th and 17th centuries; one on the history of the Pacific sardine fisheries in the 20th-century United States; one on the development of the European wind turbine industry; one on the economic geography of Scottish industrialisation; and one on the occupational structure of late imperial China.
I would welcome research students interested in the environmental and economic history of early modern Europe, especially Germany, Scandinavia, Ireland and Britain; and the energy history of the modern world.
I am on research leave during the Academic year 2019-20.
I teach the Part II specified subjects 'The Problem of Sustainability, 1500-1987', and the Part I courses 'Themes in World Environmental History' (Themes and Sources); 'Social and economic History of Britain 1450-1750' (paper 9) and 'European history, 1450-1750' (paper 16).
Editor, Agricultural History Review.
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Cambridge CB2 1RF
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