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New Undergraduate Course Supplement 2018


HIST 82.01 The Politics of Natural Disaster

In September 2017 two massive hurricanes, Irma and María, swept the Caribbean. As a result, Barbuda was left uninhabitable, Puerto Rico’s unofficial death toll was estimated in the thousands, and Dominica resembled a war zone. Hundreds of thousands were left without electricity and potable water in a region that was already suffering from stagnating economies and humanitarian crises. These natural events and their unnatural consequences laid bare the region’s legacy of colonialism, underdevelopment, and failing infrastructures. Things will never go back to the way they were before. Yet, these events are hardly unique in the Caribbean and Latin American experience.

Latin America, and the Caribbean region within it, have not only been shaped by human development but also by natural events. Hurricanes and earthquakes—the two natural events this course focuses on—have transformed the region’s landscape. This course seeks to answer the question of what can the history of natural disasters teach us about political structures, national projects, and social relations. Through interdisciplinary readings, students will use secondary and primary materials, including chronicles, art, and news reports to explore how natural events have shaped human societies.

Distributive and/or World Culture

Dist:SOC; WCult:NW

The Timetable of Class Meetings contains the most up-to-date information about a course. It includes not only the meeting time and instructor, but also its official distributive and/or world culture designation. This information supersedes any information you may see elsewhere, to include what may appear in this ORC/Catalog or on a department/program website. Note that course attributes may change term to term therefore those in effect are those (only) during the term in which you enroll in the course.