ENV 878a/F&ES 422a/ANTH 409a/EVST 422a (Online) / 2020-2021

Climate and Society: Past to Present

Credits: 3
Teaching Mode: Online
Fall 2020: Th, 1:30-3:20, online


Seminar on the major traditions of thought—both historic and contemporary—regarding climate, climate change, and society, drawing on the social sciences and anthropology in particular. Section I, introduction. Section II, continuities from past to present: How have differences in climate been used since the classical era to explain differences among 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, impact on society of 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 socioeconomic 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, eds., 2015, Yale) were written especially for this course. Films and popular media utilized as appropriate. No prerequisites. Graduate students may enroll with the instructor’s permission. Two hours lecture/seminar. This class has a Yale College WR designation

Enrollment limited to twenty.