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Coping with Disasters

Feb 28, 2011

Cluster of Excellence “Europe and Asia” organises workshop in New Delhi

The way humans cope with natural disasters is the subject of an international workshop organised by Heidelberg University’s Cluster of Excellence “Asia and Europe in a Global Context” in New Delhi (India) from 3 to 5 March 2011. Under the heading “The Transculturality of Historical Disasters: Governance and the Materialisation of Glocalisation”, scholars from various disciplines will be drawing upon historical examples from South Asia to investigate how victims respond to major catastrophes applying their local knowledge. The workshop has been organised in conjunction with Cluster Liaison Office New Delhi and will take place at the Goethe-Institute „Max Mueller Bhavan“ in New Delhi.

“Natural disasters are frequently the outcome not only of physical events, but also of cultural, social, economic and political factors,” says Prof. Dr. Gerrit Jasper Schenk, organiser of the workshop. “The repercussions such a catastrophe can have depend not least on the ability of the society affected to cope with the tragedy in a local context.” The invited keynote speaker is Dr. Edward Simpson of the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London (UK). With reference to an earthquake in Gujarat in western India, he wants to discuss the reasons why natural disasters are frequently regarded as divine retribution. Another lecture, given Prof. Dr. Audrius Beinorius of Vilnius University (Lithuania), will point up the links between disasters and the evolution of astrology in India.

The workshop is the last of three organised annually since 2009 by the “Cultures of Disaster” research project undertaken in the framework of the Cluster of Excellence “Asia and Europe in a Global Context”. For more information on the research project and the workshop, go to



Dr. Alexander Haentzschel
Cluster of Excellence “Asia and Europe in a Global Context”
Phone: +49-6221-54-4008


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