History | Catastrophes
J400 | 13470 | A. Carmichael

J400: P-HIST-J 300
Open to undergraduate majors only

This course focuses on historical evidence that helps us to
understand human responses to and ideas about catastrophes. We will
consider both natural catastrophes (earthquakes, volcanic eruptions,
pestilences, adverse weather, etc.) and catastrophes generated by
human-designed systems. Using historical examples we can find
relatively simple case studies of complex phenomena and so that we
can discern patterns over long periods of time, or within human
social systems. The course is thus something of a world
history “sampler,” looking at different perspectives on catastrophe
as well as different periods and peoples in the past. This is an
intensive writing course, and will require weekly reading-response
papers early in the course, selection of a focused topic for
individual inquiries by the middle of the course, and the production
and presentation of a documented, research-oriented paper (10-15
pages) by the end of the course.