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Addressing Disasters for Sustainable Development

(final year students only)
New for 2023-2024!

Dr Camilla Audia

Module Leader

Term 2
10 weeks
9 lectures, 9 seminars
Not available to students outside the School for Cross-Faculty Studies

Moodle Platform ยป

This module takes a social constructivist view to natural disaster risk and the social and spatial distribution of impacts. We explore how people's livelihoods in cities and rural areas of both Global North and Global South have evolved in the Anthropocene and how they can be affected by the increasing number and magnitude of extreme events. This module aims at examining disaster risk reduction and climate adaptation policies through the lens of co-producing sustainable and resilient solutions.

Principal Aims

The aim of this module is to provide students with an appreciation of the theoretical and empirical links between natural disasters and global sustainable development and facilitate an understanding by students of the human root causes of disaster and their social, cultural and political impacts. It enables students to develop a critical awareness of the role of development failures in global patterns of human vulnerability and disaster risk and encourages critical reflection on the management of disasters through humanitarian action and disaster risk reduction approaches.

Principal Learning Outcomes

By the end of the module, students will be able to:

  • Understand how the interaction of natural resource exploitation, technological change, and climate crisis impact disaster risk management and adaptation strategies.
  • Appreciate diversity, resourcefulness and knowledge local people display in managing risks and uncertainties in the context of global sustainable development.
  • Demonstrate a detailed theoretical and empirical knowledge of how disasters and sustainable development are connected.
  • Acquire a nuanced understanding of the relationship between physical and social processes in the production of disaster risk and adaptation policies.
  • Show a critical awareness of the role of development failures in global patterns of disaster risk and an ability to reflect critically on the management of disasters through sustainable development and disaster risk reduction approaches.

Employability Skills

Through this module, you will develop a number of different skills that are sought by employers which will support your professional development. We will highlight these to enable you to identify and reflect on the skills you have acquired and apply them throughout your professional journey including during the recruitment processes whether this on an CV/application form or at an interview.


Earthquakes, hurricanes, heatwaves, snowmageddons, flooding. We hear these terms continuously in the news. But what is behind these "disasters"? What do they mean in a Global Sustainable Development context? What can we do to manage, stop, prevent, address them? This is an interactive course, which will address the major cultural, social, economic and political challenges arising from natural disasters and their link with global sustainable development. It will cover the theoretical discourses on capacity and action to mitigate and adapt to climate change; current debates on resilience and transformation; science-policy dialogue on disasters, development and climate; case studies of Global North and Global South challenges and strategies. It's taught through a combination of lectures and seminars that include in and out-of-classroom activities. In particular, this course will look at rural and urban livelihoods evolution in the Anthropocene; disasters, development and climate; political ecology of disasters; adaptation, transformation, resilience; flows of knowledge in disaster risk reduction; advocacy, activism and communication in the science-policy interface of disasters and development.


  • 1 x 2000 words essay: 50%

  • Group Presentation (in-person): 25%

  • Podcast - Individual: 25%

  Please note: Module availability and staffing may change year on year depending on availability and other operational factors. The School for Cross-faculty Studies makes no guarantee that any modules will be offered in a particular year, or that they will necessarily be taught by the staff listed on this page.