CfP: Deconstructing Disaster, Rethinking Relief: Coping with Catastrophe Past and Present in Latin America and the Caribbean

CfP: Deconstructing Disaster, Rethinking Relief: Coping with Catastrophe Past and Present in Latin America and the Caribbean
10 June 2022, 11.00pm - 11.05pm
Call for Papers

Centre for Latin American and Caribbean Studies

Abstracts: 10 June 2022
Conference: 19 October 2022 online

15:00-20:00 BST

Keynote speaker: June Erlick

June Erlick is Editor-in-Chief of ReVista, the Harvard Review of Latin America at the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies, and the author of Natural Disasters in Latin America and the Caribbean: Coping with Calamity (Routledge, 2021).

Latin America and the Caribbean are on the front line against escalating numbers of disasters. Comprised largely of countries classified as developing, these regions are likely to face some of the highest casualties and costs as climate change intensifies the frequency and impact of extreme weather events. Latin America and the Caribbean are the most indebted regions in the developing world and according to the IPCC’s sixth assessment report disasters are fifteen times more likely to kill those in developing nations. This multidisciplinary conference aims to bring together, amongst others, academics, NGOs, civil society representatives and activists to discuss disasters and relief past and present with a view to forming connections that will facilitate novel approaches to mitigating and reducing this risk.

This rising risk is not one of natural happenstance, however. It is one borne both from centuries of colonial extraction and international debt obligations that drain the resources to fund both resilience building efforts and the cumulative costs of recovery. Even when external help has been provided to these regions, as exemplified by efforts in 2010 and in 2017 following the Haitian earthquake and hurricanes Irma and Maria respectively, recovery from these events has typically been fraught and often uneven. External actors have responded to disaster with a short-termist and financialised approach often enriching themselves at the expense of those to whom they are providing ‘relief’.

We must then, understand both disasters as not entirely natural and relief as not inherently apolitical. They are products of interactions between natural phenomena and historical, social, and political forces. It follows then that to face the challenge we must bring a broader range of voices commensurate to this range of factors. This multidisciplinary conference aims to do just that. 

With a geographical focus on the Caribbean and Latin American nations, potential topics to consider for papers may include, but are not limited to:

Historical and contemporary disasters 
Historical and contemporary relief efforts 
Long term disaster recovery
Colonial environmental legacies 
The concept of buen vivir, Indigenous and other forms of resilience building
Trauma and collective memory of disasters
Governance and preparation
Disaster capitalism

Abstracts of no more than 250 words along with a short bio of 100 words should be emailed to the conference convenor Dr Oscar Webber (CLACS): by Friday 10 June 2022 at the very latest.

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Cathy Collins