HIST 3CH3: Catastrophic History outline

I don’t remember the last time I’ve had this much fun preparing a course. In January, I will be teaching HIST 3CH3 (Catastrophic History: Natural & Technological Disasters) for the first time at McMaster University. I’ve been thinking about the course for quite some time, but I’ve been reluctant to put the course design down on paper for fear of ruining it. But while I’ve had to leave a lot off the syllabus—and I have pages upon pages of notes of course content I mean to squeeze in through serial podcast recordings and discussion in class—I do have something I’m quietly pleased with.

HIST 3CH3 will meet in McMaster’s new L. R. Wilson liberal arts building, in the building’s ground floor active learning rooms. I look forward to learning exactly what the space has to offer, but the emphasis in the class will be student discovery and activity. As you will see in the attached syllabus (still subject to some change), I’m doing very little lecturing, and putting the onus on students to make their own discoveries about disasters in history. In addition, I’m dipping a toe into some digital projects as a means of easing my teaching curriculum in that direction. I’m really looking forward to this!

For McMaster students: there’s still some room in the class if you’re looking to put a little History into your degree.


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