This topic is part of the suite of multidisciplinary Grand Challenges topics which focus on a range of complex issues facing the world. Throughout this topic, you will critically examine challenging societal contexts and make recommendations as to how to best tackle them.
War, famine, drought, disease, economic crises and natural disasters have disrupted and radically altered all societies including our own. They also seem set to continue to do so. By considering a number of case studies, from the ancient world to the present, this topic assesses the factors leading to population collapse, economic collapse and violent societal breakdown. It also explores the strategies used by different societies to address crises and examines how they have either adapted or succumbed to the changes they faced. In 5 modules (war, disease, economic collapse, environmental catastrophe and famine), Crisis and Catastrophe assesses previous societal successes and failures, as well as the uneven consequences of crises in different times and in different places. The topic equips students for the future as, by studying how societies have dealt with their biggest challenges in the past, students will gain the tools to assess which social and political strategies have historically succeeded and which have failed.
This topic aims to: