Natural Disasters and Pre-Modern Societies, Conference hosted by the Historical Department of the University of Zürich, Switzerland, September, 7-9, 2006 (Conference Venue: SOC-1-101, Rämistrasse 69, 8001 Zürich).
The historical study of disasters is an interdisciplinary field, currently dominated by scholars from various sub-disciplines of the historical and social sciences (environmental and climate history, historical anthropology, social anthropology/ethnology, geography). The conference will focus on pre-modern societies prioritising the period 1500 to 1800. Geographically, the case studies are spread across the globe and are related to a wide cultural spectrum. This will be the most basic prerequisite for large-scale cultural comparison. In a global history perspective, important issues of comparison will be religious forms of coping in Islamic and Christian societies as well as differences between pre-colonial, colonial and non-colonial societies. Another focus of the conference results from a considerable number of contributions dealing with climatically induced disasters (e.g. floods, droughts/famine, storm tides). In the late Middle Ages and the Early Modern period this type of disaster must be seen in connection with a significant climatic change, known as the Little Ice Age.
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