This course explores the histories of several “natural disasters” to discover how humans have understood and responded to environmental events beyond their control. The course begins with a conceptual conversation about the relationship between
environment and society within the context of disaster, and then proceeds to explore the stories of several events -- such as hurricanes, earthquakes, floods, and fires. We will also consider how disasters are woven into the historical memories of various societies and used as reference points to understand both the past and the future. Each student will conduct research and make a significant oral presentation as part of the course.