Historical climate changes and their societal impacts
7.5 credits cr.
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The climate has shown considerable variability both during ancient and more modern history of mankind, frequently with significant effects on food production and availability and, hence, on the human living conditions at large. This course will, based on the latest research, both address how the climate actually has varied at global to regional scales, and how the climate changes have directly and indirectly affected agriculture, pastoralism, transports and society at large. Focus will be placed on Europe during the past two millennia, but the course will also include prehistoric times and global history perspectives. The students will also, through reading research articles, gain a deepened understanding of ongoing scientific debates about past climate changes and their societal effects. The course will furthermore address the science history of the field, from the often simplified climate determinism in the early twentieth century to the interdisciplinary discourses about human agency in relation to shifting natural conditions in the twenty-first century.