Disasters and Urban Modernity (PEC2258.01)

Lopamudra Banerjee

Catastrophic events with atmospheric, geological, and hydrological origins (e.g., droughts, earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, landslides) are rising all around the world today; and, with a rising mass of the world’s population living in urban areas now, the nature and consequences of these extreme natural events are taking a certain specific and violent turn in today’s metropolises and megalopolis. This course invokes the three primary concepts in disaster studies — vulnerability, hazard and risk, to examine the distinct nature of disasters and their social consequences in the context of urban modernity.

The course has two requirements: [a] deep reading of the texts and related homework assignments, and [b] class participation based on the reading of assigned materials [You should not miss a class. Before coming to class, you must engage carefully with the assigned materials, and you must participate seriously in class discussions.]

This is an introductory course that studies the problem of urban disasters within the framework of economics, but also takes a transdisciplinary approach to enrich the discussions. All students (irrespective of their years of college) are welcomed to attend it. We will explore the basic ideas in the course verbally and through written expositions, and make use of case studies to provide evidential support to our arguments. No prior knowledge of economics is necessary to take this course.

The course will be taught through synchronous meeting each week to be attended by all students in the class for lectures, data workshops, class discussions and collective sharing of ideas. There will be occasional remote classes held online together with the more-frequent in-person meetings. There may also be occasional asynchronous group tutorial meetings [normally between four or five students and the course instructor] based around conversations on students’ work and research questions.

Learning Outcomes:
The course is designed to help students [1] to gain a critical understanding of certain key economic principles and apply them to the study of natural disasters in an urban context, [2] to explore how a transdisciplinary approach can enrich the analyses, and [3] guide them in formulating their own analytical questions as they expand their knowledge through active, self-determined investigation. Throughout this course, students will expand their capabilities for economic reasonings, and progress in their capacities to inquire, engage and communicate.

Delivery Method: Hybrid
Course Level: 2000-level
Credits: 2
Tu 10:30AM - 12:20PM (Full-term)
Maximum Enrollment: 18
Course Frequency: Every 2-3 years

Categories: 2000 , All courses , Environment , Hybrid , Political Economy , Two Credit
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