UN2215: Culture, Society, and Catastrophe | J. Salyer
Summer 2021 B Term
Catastrophes and disasters are often seen as inherently natural crises when in reality they are both caused and affected by anthropogenic forces and their impacts are conditioned by existing social, economic, and political factors. To truly understand catastrophes, such as the incipient climate crisis, extreme weather events, and even the current coronavirus pandemic, we will examine the complex interplay between environmental and social factors through both anthropological and human rights lenses. Specifically, the course will address the social and cultural aspects of catastrophe by focusing on the climate crisis, its causes, and its impacts. First, the course will consider the phenomena of anthropogenic climate change. Second, the course will examine the theoretical and empirical literatures that have elucidated the nature of climate change as a social, as well as a biophysical, process. Finally, the course will consider how human rights and other legal regimes do or do not address the social justice and humanitarian issues created by anthropogenic climate change.
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