Juan Fernando León
- Field(s): Early Modern Europe
- Advisor(s): Lydia Barnett
Juan Fernando León graduated in 2015 with a B.A. in History from DePaul University and in 2017 with an M.A. in History of Christianity from Wheaton College. His research investigates how early modern Iberians developed weather prediction knowledge, practice, and infrastructure during a period of worsening climate irregularity. His project challenges the notion that institutions and censorship efforts succeeded in suppressing traditional meteorology and weather lore. By examining the intellectual, symbolic, and material responses of early modern Iberians to extreme atmospheric events, his dissertation, titled “Weather Soundings: Vernacular Meteorology in the Iberian World during the Little Ice Age,” demonstrates that folk weather prediction not only persisted over time but flourished in climate-vulnerable communities and weather-dependent sectors of society. León claims that severe meteorological phenomena enabled the survival of traditional weather prediction as a viable forecasting method to build what we now call community adaptation to cataclysms. Reconstructing the societal role and significance of traditional weathercasting in the Iberian Atlantic region during the coldest phase of the Little Ice Age (1450–1715) can enhance our knowledge of how past societies responded to abnormal weather patterns while providing historical insights into potential solutions for climate change.