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Disease, Climate Shocks, and Wellbeing: a Long History of Social Response to Crisis

The goal is to introduce participants to the complex arena in which economy, society and technology intersect to promote wellbeing using historical responses to disease and climate shocks as our lens of inquiry. Participants will be introduced to enduring historical questions and a variety of social science methodologies to address complex issues, which will give them tools to approach the challenges of their contemporary world.

Disease, Climate Shocks, and Wellbeing: a Long History of Social Response to Crisis

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Comienza el Aug 3
Termina el Aug 26
4 semanas estimadas
4–5 horas por semana
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Sobre este curso

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There are three great challenges associated with living in society: the rise and easy spread of epidemic disease; the depletion of resources in the physical environment owing to the intensity of habitation and/or resource use; and interpersonal and intergroup conflict. To counter these negatives, the benefits of living in society include the capacity to pool resources for building infrastructure for protection, resilience and renewal; the opportunity to accumulate learning over time and to share clever ideas or new technologies over space; and the possibility of specialization across individuals in their skills and the work they perform for greater efficiency of output relative to required inputs. These broadly opposing forces are in constant dialog with each other, and have been for as long as humans have lived in social communities larger than the family or isolated tribe. That is to say, these forces have been at work for all of recorded history, but also deep into the archeological past. The costs of crowding are countered by the benefits of exchange and specialization, and vice versa. This course will explore the issues of disease and resource constraints through a number of historical cases, to understand their impact on social organization and the standard of living.

De un vistazo

  • Institución: MITx
  • Tema:Historia
  • Nivel:Introductory
  • Prerrequisitos:
  • Idioma:English
  • Transcripción de video:English

Lo que aprenderás

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  • Introduction to a range of historical tools used by historians to study the past

  • Understanding of key theories of how society changes over time

  • Awareness of the kinds of ‘shocks’ that societies have faced in the past with a focus on disease and climate/resource constraints

  • Reflection on what constitutes the standard of living: how to measure it, and how to think about it.

  • Analyze evidence from historical cases revealing some kinds of societies to be better able to weather shocks.

Plan de estudios

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Introduction: Looking at History

  • What does the study of history bring?

  • What is the Standard of Living?

  • Tools of Historical Demographers

  • Theories of Historical Demography

  • The Urban Mortality Penalty

Case Study: Plague

  • Introduction to the Bubonic Plague

  • Historical Tools: Documentary Evidence

  • Historical Tools: Bioarchaelogy & Ancient DNA Recovery

  • Historical Tools: Material Culture

  • How did society respond to plague?

Case Study: Climate Change

  • Climate fluctuations over time

  • Historical Tools: Palaeoclimatology

  • Historical Tools: Documentary Evidence

  • Historical Tools: Mapping & Visualizations

  • Impact of Climate change on societal wellbeing

Case Study: Smallpox

  • Introduction to Smallpox

  • Tracing Smallpox through history

  • Smallpox in the New World & the Virgin Soil Hypothesis

  • Smallpox & Vaccination

  • The Eradication of Smallpox

Society, Shocks & Wellbeing

  • Theories of Wellbeing

  • Resilience in the Face of Shocks​

Acerca de los instructores

¿Quién puede hacer este curso?

Lamentablemente, las personas residentes en uno o más de los siguientes países o regiones no podrán registrarse para este curso: Irán, Cuba y la región de Crimea en Ucrania. Si bien edX consiguió licencias de la Oficina de Control de Activos Extranjeros de los EE. UU. (U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control, OFAC) para ofrecer nuestros cursos a personas en estos países y regiones, las licencias que hemos recibido no son lo suficientemente amplias como para permitirnos dictar este curso en todas las ubicaciones. edX lamenta profundamente que las sanciones estadounidenses impidan que ofrezcamos todos nuestros cursos a cualquier persona, sin importar dónde viva.

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