When Weather Changed the Course of History

Caroline Winterer – Stanford University

Weather and climate have been shaping human history for thousands of years. Blizzards, hurricanes, droughts, dust storms, and floods: all of them have been turning points. Weather disasters seem so much bigger than we are, but they're accurate barometers for telling us about what we value as human beings. This course will examine some of these major turning points (some of them based on controversial evidence!), from the ancient world, to Napoleon's invasion of Russia, to the Dust Bowl, to Hurricane Katrina. How have weather disasters shaped human history, and what can this tell us about how we think about climate change today?