Weathering the City

Weathering the City is a feminist environmental humanities research project investigating and critiquing ways in which privileged humans in the global north are both insulated from and responding to climate change, through an analysis of infrastructural projects, bodily habits and work practices. Using methods from Literary, Gender and Cultural Studies, and Anthropology, the project is guided by the hypothesis that differing degrees of exposure and shelter constitute a politics of responsibility to the more-than-human world.

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One of the central assumptions underpinning environmental humanities scholarship is that humans need to respond to and live with the more-than-human world differently. We need, as a matter of some urgency, to relate in more caring, responsible and anti-human exceptionalist ways. But, as we know, human relationships with the more-than-human are mediated. We weather the world differently and unevenly, depending on one’s social and topographical ‘politics of location’ (Rich, 1984). Specifically regarding weather and cities, the dominant mode of this relation is literally constructed in concrete as roads, buildings and stormwater drains. But as the climate changes, so does the weather and, with it, the human-weather relation. ‘Weathering’ according to Astrida Neimanis and Rachel Loewen Walker is a way of bringing the more spatially and temporally expansive process of climate change home to the lived and localised experience of humans via our embodied relations with the weather (2014). Investigating the ways in which privileged cities in the global north are weathering the city opens up new ways of understanding how routine and, oftentimes, mundane practices relate to larger environmental processes.

The project explores both what is and what might become regarding human exposure to and shelter from the weather in wealthy cities. On the one hand, I draw on creative writing and policy documents show how humans in cities in the global north are already ‘weathering’, in order to ask: what do existing weather mitigation infrastructures, environmental resilience policies, building codes and extant lifestyle choices tell us about the terms of that relation? On the other hand, given the changing climate and more frequent extreme weather events, this normative mode of weathering will necessarily begin to change. In this regard, I explore speculative fictions and resilience strategy documents also ask: what are some alternative ways of weathering the city and, thus, how and what would it take ‒ politically, materially, emotionally and ideologically ‒ to practise an ecologically responsible and just version of that relation? My project draws on existing work on the history of representation of storms and grows out of site-specific fieldwork in Sydney, New York and Stockholm.

The broader research for this project is funded by Seed Box: A Mistra+Formas Environmental Humanities Collaboratory at Linköping University, Sweden and is housed in the Department of Gender and Cultural Studies at The University of Sydney. The funding for the symposium, workshop and associated public lecture is through the Associate Investigator scheme of the ARC Centre of Excellence for the History of Emotions (Europe 1100‒1800) and Seed Box.

Research Notes

Reading Group (co-convened with Astrida Neimanis)

Collaborative research on weather and method (with Astrida, Rebecca Giggs, Kate Wright and Tessa Zettel)

Ealrwood Farm - making ways of living differently in the big city on 1018 square metres of rented land



‘Hot in the City: Climate and Health in Urban Environments’, 6 April 2017.

‘Property, Weather and the Matter of Emotional Inheritance on Earth Day’

‘What was Hacking the Anthropocene?: Or, Why Environmental Humanities Needs More Feminism’

‘Reflections on an Interdisciplinary Environmental Humanities Summit’


Symposium supported by CHE, Sydney Social Science and Humanities Advanced Research Centre and Sydney Environment Institute is ‘Feminist, Queer, Anticolonial Propositions for Hacking the Anthropocene II: Weathering’

‘Hot in the City: Climate and Health in Urban Environments’ (Audio available)

‘Weathering the City: The Poetics of Sydney’s Stormwater Infrastructure’ Gender and Cultural Studies, The University of Sydney Department Seminar Series (S1, 2016)


Neimanis. A. and J. M. Hamilton. 'Weathering’. feminist review 118.1 (2018): 80–84.

Hamilton, J. M. ‘Gardening after the Anthropocene’.  In Covert Plants: Vegetal Consciousness and Agency in an Anthropocentric World, edited by Prudence Gibson and Baylee Britts.  New York: Punctum, 2018.

Hamilton, J. M. This Contentious Storm: An Ecocritical and Performance History of King Lear. London: Bloomsbury Academic, 2017 (from a previous project, but thematically linked).

Hamilton, J. M. ‘Labour Against Wilderness and the Trouble with Property Beyond the Secret River’. Green Letters 20.2 (2016): 140‒55.