As much of the theme of this cycle focuses on revolutions, one of the most powerful takeaways for me was the prejudice and the influence of colonialism and power structures on the ability to produce history, as well as the implications of that.
The 1815 eruption of Tambora was quite possibly one of the most powerful and devastating natural disasters in modern history. The surrounding discussion over the publishing of the history of the event is fairly non-existent for the magnitude of the event that completely and totally affected much of the world. It is a particularly pertinent thought in the light of this insane election cycle, where the republican candidate has often criticized the democratic candidates for referring to climate change as a great threat to global security. One of the reasons that I have chosen Syria as the region whose weather I would like to study is because of the greater macro effects of weather on the region, including starvation, insecurity, and the rise of terrorist groups and the possible link between those and positive sentiment for these groups. This was evident in the way in which the climate change dramatically affected the poor population in the discussion of the journals of Mary Shelley. Here we say the dire consequences of extreme climate change, the type of which I very much hope will not become evident in the next several lifetimes. The fear and xenophobia shown by populations of people is evident in today’s Syria, which has a large population of suffering sick and starving people due in part to the climate of Syria which limits agriculture.
I think that in making light of the history that has been written, a certain Donald Trump has mobilized a strategy that is eerily similar to this time period. While the publishing of information and the continued disuse of the facts are severely different, the are also interconnected in they both are able to manipulate the way in which people view the current and the future. There is a mode of thinking to influence this outcome, to agency to edit, prohibit, or change the lenses through which people view history. There is a significant discussion in history classes around which people view history, and who gets to produce it. We read textbooks, which are supposed to give us an objective and factual scope of histories, but those are pre-determined to be relevant and factual by those who control what should be decided to be so.
On a more practical note, I wonder what would happen if a Tambora like event happened today, where a natural disaster so drastically affect more than one Western region. I make this distinction because it would influence those with money and power, but with limited geographical resources. How would established nations cooperate, if they did cooperate, to save lives and ration resources? It is important to think about how Globalization, which I classify 100% to be a revolution, and its related inconnectuivity, would dramatically change if nations had to compete within non financial markets to survive.