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Anthony Di Fiore, Chair SAC 4.102, Mailcode C3200 78712 • 512-471-4206

Fall 2005

ANT 3234L • Climate Change or Catastrophe-W

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
28554 TTh
3:30 PM-5:00 PM
BEN 1.124

Course Description

Talking about the weather is an integral part of our daily conversations, and it has always been that way. In narratives, we relate our moods, activities and fashions to weather phenomena, and it plays a crucial role in issues of cultural identity, concepts of time, and economic practises. But today, talking about the weather also means entering into a highly controversial debate about global warming and its consequences. Climate is a truly global affair, with the Kyoto-Protocol as an icon for the differing perspectives of what to do about it. Is climate change something humanity has to take care of, but to which it can adapt, or is it a catastrophe? Are natural catastrophes such as floodings, droughts or forest fires only results of mismanagement, or are they already a consequence of climate change? This course offers an intercultural perspective on weather and climate. With recent discussions about climate politics as a starting point, we analyse cultural practises, natural catastrophes and representations of unusual meteorological phenomena in their cultural, historical and political framework. Why do the British like to talk about the weather, and does weather determine cultural behaviour? How are people in arctic regions affected by climate change, why and how do media in Germany interpret climate change as catastrophe? What is the relationship between science and politics? Is climate still the self-evident condition we live by, or do we have to make our climate ourselves?

Drawing on anthropological case studies, literary documents, philosophical interpretations, scientific studies and media representations, this course explores our complex relationship to the weather and introduces the complexity of the heated debate about the climate.


Strauss, Sarah and Benjamin S. Orlove (eds.) Weather, Climate, Culture. Oxford, UK: Berg (2003) Additional articles and essays will be available in digital and photocopied form.


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