HISTORY 215 - The History of Disaster
Section: 001
Term: FA 2018
Subject: History (HISTORY)
Department: LSA History
Requirements & Distribution:
Waitlist Capacity:
With permission of instructor.
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)
MW 10:00AM - 11:30AM
NOTE: Data maintained by department in Wolverine Access. If no textbooks are listed below, check with the department.

ISBN: 9780974187303
Karanis an Egyptian town in Roman times ; discoveries of the University of Michigan expedition to Egypt (1924-1935), Publisher: Kelsey Museum or Archaeology, Univ. of Michigan 2004
ISBN: 9780715631614
Pompeii, Author: Cooley, Alison E., Publisher: Duckworth 2006
ISBN: 9780814713457
American disasters : catastrophes that shaped communities and the nation, Publisher: New York University Press 2002
ISBN: 9780131893412
The first horseman : disease in human history, Publisher: Prentice Hall 2007
Other Textbook Editions OK.
ISBN: 9781859843826
Late Victorian holocausts : El Nin?o famines and the making of the Third World, Author: Davis, Mike., Publisher: Verso 2002
Other Textbook Editions OK.
ISBN: 9780415921756
Dreadful visitations : confronting natural catastrophe in the age of enlightenment ; [... grew out of a conference ... at the University of California, Berkeley, held in February 1995 and entitled Disaster in the Eighteenth Century: Cultural Responses to Natural Catastrophe], Publisher: Routledge 1999
ISBN: 9780807875650
Winds of Change Hurricanes and the Transformation of Nineteenth-Century Cuba, Author: Pe?rez Jr., Louis A.
Other Textbook Editions OK.
ISBN: 9780199838912
Acts of God : the Unnatural History of Natural Disaster in America., Author: Steinberg, Ted., Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA 2006
Other Textbook Editions OK.
Syllabi are available to current LSA students. IMPORTANT: These syllabi are provided to give students a general idea about the courses, as offered by LSA departments and programs in prior academic terms. The syllabi do not necessarily reflect the assignments, sequence of course materials, and/or course expectations that the faculty and departments/programs have for these same courses in the current and/or future terms.

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