Scribner Seminar Program
Hurricanes & Forest Fires
Instructor(s): Christopher Mann, Political Sciences
Water, wind, and fire are generally benevolent and useful. However, too much water, wind, or fire results in a “natural disaster.” For individuals, natural disasters trigger an instinct to escape and survive. For society, our responses are more complicated. In what ways can we help those experiencing hurricanes and forest fires? Are there limits to the help we should offer? Do we allow or encourage people to live in high-risk areas? Should we help rebuild? This seminar focuses the socio-political response to major events in the natural world, with an emphasis on the role of historical events in shaping current social and political understandings. We will use natural science to understand how these events occur; history and journalism for insights about how natural disaster events are perceived; and social science to understand the collective response.