Climate and Society: Drowning Cities

From antiquity to the present, human societies have had a rich and uneasy relationship to water, with many of the world's great cities rising on the shores of rivers, lakes, seas, and oceans. Their histories have been shaped by the opportunities and hazards of these nearby waters. Today, many population centers now also lie in the cross-hairs of climate change, which accelerates sea-level rise and alters the frequency and magnitude of flooding and severe storms.

This interdisciplinary class will explore legendary floods and the physical and cultural phenomena of the world’s “drowning cities,” bringing together diverse perspectives from environmental science and the history of architecture, engineering, and urbanism.

We will use varied modes of evidence, inference, and analysis to understand past, present, and futures in the Near East, Europe, Asia, and North America, including Nashville, New Orleans, and New York.

We will explore different approaches for communicating about climate and cities, including interactive mapping.

Team taught by Betsey Robinson (History of Art and Architecture), Jonathan Gilligan (Earth & Environmental Sciences), and Steve Goodbred (Earth & Environmental Sciences)


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