Natural Hazards and their impacts will be analyzed in this course from a variety of standpoints, from their management to their interaction with social, political, environmental, and economic systems. Students will investigate what qualifies as a disaster and how the designation of a disaster depends on a range of factors, such as the intensity and scale of the event, the social context in which it occurs, the degree of vulnerability or resilience exhibited by affected parties, and the assets that any household has at its disposal to help cope with lost income and earning power, resources, social support mechanisms, and property.
This course will end with an on-site residency in Louisiana to study the recent history of natural disasters and climate change adaptation in that state, and many case studies and examples from this context will be presented to help prepare students for this field experience. In the last eleven years alone, Louisiana has experienced Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Ike, Gustav, Isaac, the Deepwater Horizon Gulf Oil Spill, and now two riverine and precipitation-based flooding events of massive scale in the northern and central regions of the state (Great Floods of March & August 2016).
The intersection between human behavior and nature will include an analysis of climate change and rural/urban migration and development patterns that put growing numbers of people in the path of natural hazards that are increasing in frequency and severity. The course will allow students to gain insight into what it means to build effective resilience regimes and what we do and do not understand about effective adaptation and resilience strategies.
Note: This course will run virtually throughout the semester and meets weekly on Wednesday from 8-10pm EST. The residency is scheduled for a duration of 10 days in Puerto Rico, and will include the topics of Theory and Legal Frameworks as well as Natural Hazards.
Students will develop a greater understanding of the context in which emergency management is practiced in the United States. This will be accomplished via examination of the history of emergency management, associated legal frameworks, and theories that influence its practice.
Note: This course is run entirely virtually. The residency is scheduled for a duration of 4 days of virtual learning, followed by 4 days of an in-person residency during the Spring 2021 semester as part of the MPEM 600 residency from January 10-19, 2021.