How Climate Change Affected the Course of History
S 2018

What is the role of climate in human affairs? ? How did human societies cope with climate change?

Historians have rarely paid attention to climate change, but it turns out that a few more, or a few less inches of rain, a change in one or two degrees, can make a difference in how human events unfold.  Often disregarded, climate change was a contributing factor to numerous historical developments, but it was far from being determinative. How humans coped with factors that were beyond their control determined the course of history.


The course will cover the effects of climate change on human history and the various ways humans responded to changes in their environment. It will cover a period of about 20,000 years, from 18,000 BCE to 1850 CE.  The course is not Eurocentric; it covers the effects of climate change on many diverse cultures located all around the world.


Three books authored by Brian Fagan are our core books:

1.              The Long Summer, How Climate Changed Civilization

2.              The Great Warming, Climate Change and the Rise and Fall of Civilizations

3.              Little Ice Age, How Climate Made History


            The course will provide an additional tool for the understanding of historical events.