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Historical Disasters – perception, interpretation, representation

Speaker: Gerrit Jasper Schenk (TU Darmstadt)

16.04.2012, 6 pm to 8 pm

Darmstadt: Technische Universität, Robert Piloty-Gebäude, Hochschulstraße 10, Raum S2-02 C 205.

Today's disasters – from hurricane Katrina to Fukushima Daiichi nuclear melt-down –have heightened our attention to cultural and historical differences in human ways of dealing with extreme natural events. This lecture aims at sharpening awareness for the specific aspects and common ground in perceiving, interpreting and representing disasters and our ways of dealing with them both historically and currently. Only a meticulous examination of the unique contexts in which extreme natural events develop their destructive potential for human communities and their cultures will enable us to better understand contemporary developments. The young historical research on disasters in transcultural comparison shows what and how we can learn from disasters. That at least gives us some hope that together as a globalised society of the “anthropocene“, we can cope with our common challenges.

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