HIST 209 Natural Disasters

Spring, Fall

By studying the evolution of people’s responses to “natural disasters,” this course helps students understand the politics of environmental change. The course begins by developing a conceptual vocabulary drawn from the interdisciplinary field of “disaster studies.” We then explore the governmental, economic, and social contexts and institutional responses to several catastrophic events -- such as volcanoes, hurricanes, earthquakes, floods, and fires -- to discover how they reshaped laws, public policy, and urban development. Students will examine how the mass media has often misrepresented disasters thereby creating public perceptions which have a significant impact on policy. 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.


Degree Requirements

Global/Comparative History
Environmental Studies Elective
Urban Studies Elective