This site highlights a new interdisciplinary course under development at Phillips Academy, "Natural Causes:  How _____ Wrote History"  This course is a collaboration between Marcelle Doheny, Instructor in History and Social Science, and Jerry Hagler, Instructor in Biology, focusing on the impact of natural forces on the course of history.  Each term will consider the role of a specific natural influence; climate change, disease, human genetics, invasive species, etc. Here you will find ideas, thoughts and news about this course, and the course syllabus as it develops.

Potential ideas for 2018-19 school year.  Course title--Natural Causes: How Climate Change Wrote History

  1. Impact of weather and climate on local history.  Case study:  Potential role of Ergot of Rye and other biological contaminants or infectious agents on the Salem Witch Trials
  2. Climate change influence on the course of regional civilization.  Case study:  The Maya, the Viking Expansion during the Medieval Warm Period
  3. Impact of climate change on the course of large scale world history
    1. Case Study:  Role of locally warmer and wetter climate on the establishment and expansion of the Mongol Empire
    2. Modern day climate change and impact on international politics and relations.

Other Syllabus ideas

Sources for Natural Causes

2018-19 Syllabus for Natural Causes: How Climate Change Wrote History