Catastrophe and Culture: The Anthropology of Disaster (School for Advanced Research Advanced Seminar Series)

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9781930618152: Catastrophe and Culture: The Anthropology of Disaster (School for Advanced Research Advanced Seminar Series)

At a time of increasing globalization and worldwide vulnerability, the study of disasters has become an important focus for anthropological research-one where the four fields of anthropology are synthesized to address the multidimensionality of the effects to a community’s social structures and relationship to the environment. Using a variety of natural and technological disasters-including Mexican earthquakes, drought in the Andes and in Africa, the nuclear meltdown at Chernobyl, the Exxon Valdez oil spill, the Oakland firestorm, and the Bhopal gas disaster-the authors of this volume explore the potentials of disaster for ecological, political-economic, and cultural approaches to anthropology along with the perspectives of archaeology and history. They also discuss the connection between theory and practice and what anthropology can do for disaster management.

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About the Author:

ANTHONY OLIVER-SMITH is Professor Emeritus of Anthropology at the University of Florida. He held the Munich Re Foundation Chair of Social Vulnerability at the United Nations University Institute for Environment and Human Security 2007–2008. He has done anthropological research and consultation on issues relating to involuntary resettlement, as well as the impacts of natural and technological disasters, in Peru, Honduras, India, Brazil, Jamaica, Mexico, Japan, and the United States since the 1970s.

Hoffman is an anthropologist, filmmaker, and writer.

ANTHONY OLIVER-SMITH is Professor Emeritus of Anthropology at the University of Florida. He held the Munich Re Foundation Chair of Social Vulnerability at the United Nations University Institute for Environment and Human Security 2007–2008. He has done anthropological research and consultation on issues relating to involuntary resettlement, as well as the impacts of natural and technological disasters, in Peru, Honduras, India, Brazil, Jamaica, Mexico, Japan, and the United States since the 1970s.

Review:

[T]he contributors to this volume provide a comprehensive account of the nature of disasters, their complex mix of the physical, biological, and socio-cultural, and their use in the elucidation and reconstitution of social life which are the goals of the mining anthropologist... This volume comes out of the School of American Research seminars. This means it is particularly well integrated and interwoven... The end product, then, is a most coherent and interesting read which will resonate with academics and citizens as this brave new millennium of ours continues to present us with new and increasingly complex disasters. --Jonathan Skinner, The Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute Vol. 10, no. 4 (December 2004)

[T]he contributors to this volume provide a comprehensive account of the nature of disasters, their complex mix of the physical, biological, and socio-cultural, and their use in the elucidation and reconstitution of social life which are the goals of the mining anthropologist... This volume comes out of the School of American Research seminars. This means it is particularly well integrated and interwoven... The end product, then, is a most coherent and interesting read which will resonate with academics and citizens as this brave new millennium of ours continues to present us with new and increasingly complex disasters. --The Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute Vol. 10, no. 4 (December 2004)

These important essays concern both the value of disasters for anthropologists and scholars interested in analyzing cultures and the important insights that an anthropological perspective can offer to the academic study of disaster and to policy makers.... --Choice, vol. 40, no. 5, January 2003

[T]he contributors to this volume provide a comprehensive account of the nature of disasters, their complex mix of the physical, biological, and socio-cultural, and their use in the elucidation and reconstitution of social life which are the goals of the mining anthropologist... This volume comes out of the School of American Research seminars. This means it is particularly well integrated and interwoven... The end product, then, is a most coherent and interesting read which will resonate with academics and citizens as this brave new millennium of ours continues to present us with new and increasingly complex disasters. --The Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute Vol. 10, no. 4 (December 2004)

These important essays concern both the value of disasters for anthropologists and scholars interested in analyzing cultures and the important insights that an anthropological perspective can offer to the academic study of disaster and to policy makers.... --Choice, vol. 40, no. 5, January 2003

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