ENV 878a/GLBL394a/ER&M 392a/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 and debate regarding climate, climate change, and society, drawing largely on the social sciences and humanities. Section I, overview of the field and course. Section II, disaster: the social origins of disastrous events; and the attribution of societal ‘collapse’ to extreme climatic events. Section III, causality: the ‘revelatory’ character of climatic perturbation; politics and the history of efforts to control weather/climate; and 19th-20th century theories of environmental determinism. Section IV, history and culture: the ancient tradition of explaining differences among people in terms of differences in climate; and differences between western and non-western views of climate.  Section V, knowledge: the ethnographic study of folk knowledge of climate; and local views of climatic perturbation and change. Section VI, politics: the role of climatic change and perturbation in national politics; and the construction and contesting of global views of climate change. The goal of the course is to clarify the embedded historical, cultural, and political drivers of current climate change debates and discourses.

Enrollment limited to twenty.