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CHRG Seminar Series 2022 – Carla Pascoe Leahy – Wednesday 11 May 11am

Carla Pascoe Leahy – Climate-changed parenthood: reproduction, childrearing and environmental crisis

Climate change is now widely recognised as having devastating impacts in the present moment, not in some hypothetical future, particularly in terms of more frequent and more intense disasters. But our understandings of this climate crisis tend to focus on the tangible. We are learning to measure the impacts of climate-fuelled disasters on physical infrastructure such as housing, roads and community facilities; on human health in both the immediate time of crisis and in the aftermath; and on economies in terms of loss, damage and insurance.

We are less adept at comprehending the personal and cultural impacts of the climate emergency – how this age of environmental disasters is changing our human life worlds. This presentation will introduce some of my collaborative research into how climate change is shifting our experiences and understandings of parenthood and childhood. I will explore the ways in which some prospective mothers describe their reproductive decision-making in the context of climate change. I will also analyse how mothers have experienced childrearing amidst climate-fuelled disasters. Overall, my research suggests that climate change has far-reaching impacts on our human lives, including how we understand and experience family.

Carla Pascoe Leahy is a Lecturer in Family History at the University of Tasmania, Honorary Fellow at the University of Melbourne, Joint Editor of Studies in Oral History and an Honorary Associate at Museum Victoria. Her research focuses on motherhood and family; children and youth; place, environment and sustainability; and oral history and qualitative research. Her publications include Spaces Imagined, Places Remembered: Childhood in 1950s Australia (2011) and Children, Childhood and Cultural Heritage (2013), Children’s Voices from the Past: New Historical and Interdisciplinary Perspectives (2019) and Australian Mothering: Historical and Sociological Perspectives (2019).

Join us in person at Waurn Ponds (IC2.108) and Burwood (C2.05.01) or via Zoom.