W.K. Hancock Professor of History Inaugural Lecture

Hedley Bull Lecture theatre

The history and future of ice: science, humanities and climate change

Tom Griffiths introduced by Emeritus Professor D.A. Low

Keith Hancock championed a rapprochement of science and the humanities and was a pioneering environmental historian of the Australian high country, the Monaro.  He was also an eminent historian of the Commonwealth and applied his historical sensibility to gobal environmental and political questions.  In the spirit of Hancock’s quest, this lecture makes a case for the role historians can play in understanding the great global environmental challenge of our own time, that of climate change.  One way to make sense of our predicament is to look deeply into the ice we are losing.

Tom Griffiths is the W K Hancock Professor of History in the Research School of Social Sciences. His books and essays have won prizes in literature, history, science, politics and journalism, most recently the Prime Minister’s Prize for Australian History (2008) and the Alfred Deakin Prize (2009).  His books include Hunters and Collectors (1996), Forests of Ash (2001) and Slicing the Silence: Voyaging to Antarctica (2007).  In 2008 he was the Distinguished Visiting Professor of Australian Studies at the University of Copenhagen where he continues as an Adjunct Professor of Climate Research.  He is Chair of the Editorial Board of the Australian Dictionary of Biography, Director of the Centre for Environmental History and a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Humanities.

Professor Anthony Low is Former Vice-Chancellor of ANU and Smuts Professor of the History of the British Commonwealth and President of Clare Hall in the University of Cambridge.

In 1974 the University Council established the William Keith Hancock Chair of History to commemorate the first quarter century of the Research School of Social Sciences. It was named after Sir Keith Hancock, the first Director of RSSS, and its foundation professor of History.

Date & time

Tue 20 Sep 2011, 5–6pm


School of History


Updated:  20 July 2017/Responsible Officer:  Head of School/Page Contact:  CASS Marketing & Communications