HISTORY 215 - The History of Disaster
Section: 001
Term: FA 2018
Subject: History (HISTORY)
Department: LSA History
Requirements & Distribution:
Waitlist Capacity:
May not be repeated for credit.
Primary Instructor:

Pompeii. The Black Death. A “Great Fire.” Earthquakes. Monsoon floods. Natural disasters may appear to be a constant of life on earth, but human responses to, and interpretations of, such “acts of God” vary dramatically. While on the surface these calamities bring only death and destruction, they also reveal much that otherwise would remain hidden. How have human societies interacted with (and explained) “nature” and its hazards? Why have some groups and places been more vulnerable than others? The history of disaster is as much about what happens afterwards, about how men and women respond: to develop religious or scientific explanations for what happened, to criticize state responses or ill-preparedness, to debate questions of responsibility and blame. Catastrophes make it possible to reorganize social relations, to rethink personal priorities, and to rebuild identities and cityscapes in new ways.

This global, comparative course ranges widely through space and time to explore the history of natural disasters: fires, floods, famines, hurricanes, tornadoes, epidemics, tsunamis, earthquakes, blizzards, volcanoes, and more.

Course Requirements:

Grades include one exam and two short papers along with a group project.

Intended Audience:

Honors students.

Class Format:

We will meet twice a week for discussion of assigned readings (several books, total cost approximately $150, and a number of articles to be posted on Canvas). This will be an Honors-only course, one built around discussion rather than lecture.

HISTORY 215 - The History of Disaster
Schedule Listing
001 (LEC)
20LSA Hnrs
MW 1:00PM - 2:30PM
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