F&ES 878a/F&ES 422a/ANTH 409a/EVST 422a / 2016-2017

Climate and Society from Past to Present

Credits: 3
Fall 2016: Th, 3:30-5:20, Rozenkrantz, Room 241
Fall OCI Listing    


Seminar on the major traditions of thought, historic and contemporary, regarding climate, climate change, and society, drawing on the social sciences and anthropology in particular.  Section I -- Introduction to the Course. Section II – Continuities from Past to Present: How have differences in climate been used since the classical era to explain differences in people? How does this vary between western and non-western intellectual traditions? What role has the ethnographic study of folk knowledge played in this?  Section III – Societal and Environmental Change: What shape did environmental determinism take in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries? Can historic cases of societal ‘collapse’ be attributed to extreme climatic events? Can such events play a constructive as well as destructive role in the development of a society?  Section IV – Vulnerability and Control: What are the means by which societies attempt to cope with extreme climatic events?  How do such events reflect, reveal, and reproduce socio-economic fault lines?  Section V – Knowledge and Its Circulation:  How is knowledge of climate and its extremes constituted?  How does such knowledge become an object of contestation between central and local authorities, as well as between the global North and South?  The main texts, The Anthropology of Climate Change (Dove, ed., 2014, Wiley-Blackwell) and Climate Cultures (Barnes and Dove 2015, Yale) were written especially for this course. No prerequisites. Graduate students may enroll with the instructor’s permission. Two-hour lecture/seminar. Taught in alternate years.

Enrollment limited to twenty.
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