Keele academic charts scientific and cultural legacy of glaciers in new book

The impact of glaciers on human culture, science and imagination has been chronicled in a new book by a Keele academic.

Dr Peter Knight, Reader in Geography at Keele, produced his new book Glacier: Nature and Culture to examine the phenomenon of glaciers in the context of current concerns around climate change, as well as exploring how glaciers have captured human imagination throughout history.

The book is part of Reaktion Books' Earth series, which is edited by Dr Knight’s colleague, also from Keele Geography, Dr Daniel Allen.

The publisher’s synopsis explains that this interdisciplinary work “situates glaciers not only in the context of climate change and environmental threat, but also in the context of human imagination and the creative arts.

“An inspiration to artists, a challenge for engineers, glaciers mean different things to different people, but it is less than 200 years since we realised that ice ages come and go, and that glaciers once covered much more of the planet’s surface than they do now.

“This book introduces the idea of The Glacial Turn, a paradigm shift that started in the 19th century and has culminated in Glaciers occupying a pivotal position in both the science and the culture of people's engagement with the changing natural environment.”

Dr Knight said: “Writing this book was a particularly challenging project because I wanted it to be accessible to the general reader while also making new contributions at a research level.

“The breadth of coverage across arts and science is unusual, and led me into conversation with artists, musicians, historians and even a national poet laureate as well as the scientists with whom I have been used to working on previous projects.

“With such a breadth of material and such high production values, I hope the book will reach its intended wide audience of people interested in any aspect of glaciers and their connections with human culture.”

The book will be released on Monday 11 November.

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