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Workshop: Searching for the Historical Roots of the 3.11 Disasters in Japan (April 24-25)

This workshop seeks to intervene in current conversations surrounding the 3.11 earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear disasters. A historical perspective on the origins of the 3.11 disasters has not been adequately incorporated into conversations on recovery, reconstruction, disaster preparedness, public health, and energy in Japan.

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SRL at the American Association of Geographers

Superstorm Research Lab will be presenting work at the American Association of Geographers conference in Tampa April 8-12, 2014.

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Public Bibliography on Occupy Sandy

We've created a public bibliography on Occupy Sandy that includes a mix of academic literature, journalism, websites, graphics, documentaries, presentations, and even some internal documents from Occupy Sandy.

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CFP: Applied Anthropology of Risk and Disasters

We are looking for new research manuscripts to include in this special issue of Human Organization. The will cover the historically-produced and ecological causes of catastrophes as well as studies of mitigation, risk-reduction, response, and aftermath and recovery.

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The temporality of disaster

Rather than a teleological climb back to normalcy, there are two ways that many on-the-ground experiences of Sandy create a different temporal pattern. First, people who were relatively resilient and able to deal with adversity before the storm are now vulnerable. Secondly, for populations that were already vulnerable due to poverty, lack of access to health care and education, and precarious employment or housing, not only are they in increasingly dire situations, but a return to "predisaster" normalcy can hardly be called a recovery.

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Alliance for a Just Rebuilding Releases Report on Rebuilding & Inequity

Alliance for a Just Rebuilding has just released a public report entitled, "How Sandy Rebuilding Can Reduce Inequity in New York City-- A Plan of Action for Mayor de Blasio from Sandy Survivors."

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CFP: Grounding Disaster STS

In particular, we seek to explore how Science and Technology Studies (STS) theories and methods might extend beyond academe: How can our work assist first responders, disaster managers, activists, scientists, public institutions, community-based organizations, and vulnerable groups that bear the brunt of effects and responses to disaster?

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Call for Papers: Generative Justice: Value from the Bottom-up

A conference at RPI, Troy NY, June 27-29 2014: Social problems are often addressed through the top-down forms of “distributive justice”: intervention from government agencies and regulations for example. But science and technology innovations have opened new possibilities for “generative justice”: bottom-up networks that strive for a more equitable and sustainable world through communitarian value generation. We invite presentation and panel proposals on the theory and practice of generative justice.

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Postdoc position in “Changing Disasters” in Department of Food and Resource Economics, University of Copenhagen

The Postdoc (2 years) position will form part of an overall research programme named "Changing Disasters". Changing Disasters is an
interdisciplinary research programme set out to explore the relationship between disasters and societies. The aim of "Changing Disasters" is to investigate how the perpetual presence of real or virtual disasters gives shape to contemporary societies.

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Occupy Sandy’s Trenton Occupation: “Camp Sandygate”

"In light of the recent disturbing disclosures concerning Governor Chris Christie's flagrant misuse of federal Sandy aid money, the collective of storm survivors and their allies who organize under the Occupy Sandy New Jersey banner are calling on residents of New Jersey to join us in Trenton to Occupy outside the Capitol starting this Saturday, January 18th, at noon. We intend to maintain our camp through Chris Christie's re-inauguration festivities on Tuesday, January 21st."

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Postdoc in Coastal Resiliency Planning & Policy

The Institute of Sustainable Coastal Communities (ISCC) at Texas A&M
University seeks a postdoctoral scholar to be part of a collaborative
venture to create a fundamentally different way to identify and tackle
critical coastal resiliency challenges that threaten human communities and
the integrity of natural systems.

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The cost of risk: the post-Sandy realities of flood insurance

The Biggert-Waters bill addresses the problems of the National Flood Insurance Program in the abstract, but it doesn’t address the problems that actually manifested on the ground when the NFIP went into action. Entrenched inequality, the glacial pace of disbursement, the difficulty of navigating the bureaucratic ocean - these problems were enough to sink families after the storm - if they were eligible for flood insurance in the first place. So what is the point of having the NFIP anyway, when so much of it is apparently broken?

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SRL white paper released: A Tale of Two Sandys

Superstorm Research Lab has just released the first in-depth report aimed on Sandy's aftermath that examines a wide cross-section of post-Sandy perspectives, including policymakers in New York City Hall, individuals whose lives were acutely affected, established NGOs, and community-based organizations like Occupy Sandy. Drawing on over 70 extensive interviews, we have found that two divergent concepts of disaster have lead to different types of response, definitions of recovery, and attention to justice following Hurricane Sandy's landfall in New York City in 2012.

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Unfinished Work: Views of Superstorm Sandy from the Ground Up 1/16/14

Unfinished Work: Views of Superstorm Sandy from the Ground Up is an event on Thursday, January 16 at 6:30pm that will feature NY1 anchor Elizabeth Kaledin as moderator for a conversation among community leaders in area deeply impacted by Sandy.

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The cost of risk: why taxpayers foot the bill for flood insurance

There is one tool that helps people understand the financial implications of risk: insurance. Risky behavior means more expensive insurance. Likewise, living in a high-flood-risk area should result in more expensive flood insurance, which will make people less enthusiastic about developing (and living in) high-risk areas. But this only works if (1) the insurance is available and (2) people buy it.

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One Year On

Superstorm Research Lab hosted a public event on Monday, November 11th, featuring an afternoon of workshops and an evening presentation of SRL’s forthcoming white paper, A Tale of Two Sandys.

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Superstorm Sandy Oral History Workshop December 7

The largest collection of Superstorm Sandy Oral Histories was released recently at Monmouth University, in West Long Branch, NJ.  Anthropology Professor Edward Gonzalez-Tennant and his students collected and transcribed nearly 30 oral histories from residents impacted by the worst natural disaster ever to hit New Jersey.

Dr. Gonzalez-Tennant is presenting an oral history workshop focusing on the recording of personal histories. The recording of personal histories is increasingly viewed by researchers and members of the public as a vital source of information regarding the past. Everyone has a story to tell and oral history recognizes the importance of personal experiences in understanding our shared past.

This workshop will introduce participants to the standard methods of oral history and will  include a discussion of interviewing techniques, pointers for collecting personal stories, and a discussion on  the use of digital recorders in oral history. An overview of the transcription process will also be presented.

When:  Saturday, December 7 from 11am to 1pm

Where:  Upper Shores Library, 112 Jersey City Avenue, Lavalette, NJ


About the Superstorm Sandy Oral History Project

The recording of personal histories is increasingly viewed by researchers and members of the public as a vital source of information. Everyone has a story to tell and oral history recognizes the importance of personal experiences in understanding our shared past. The purpose of this project is to document personal testimonies related to Hurricane Sandy.

Our primary research question seeks to contextualize extreme weather within the daily lives of New Jersey residents. This type of research recognizes that disaster is a complex process. Risk and vulnerability are concentrated in specific locations and locally-based research is required to fully understand its lingering effects.

Oral histories provide an important response to regional and national coverage of the event for several reasons. They provide in-depth accounts of everyday individuals and their strategies for preparing and surviving such events. In addition, our project continues to collect interviews as a way to showcase the long-term effects of these kinds of events.

If you have any questions or would like to participate in the project, please contact Dr. Edward Gonzalez-Tennant via email at or phone at 732-571-4458.

To access a sample of the oral history interviews, please click here.

Trash, debris, or neither? The Nature of Waste During Disaster

Not only do natural (and unnatural) disasters produce a lot of waste, they are also extreme but oddly quintessential events where practices, behavior, and cultures around waste and wasting, as well as their inverse--repairing, fixing, and rebuilding--move to the fore. The waste produced by disaster comes in all shapes, scales, and degrees of danger. In New York City after Hurricane Sandy, there were four million cubic yards of what is called "disaster debris."

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Talking Transitions 11/14-11/19

Talking Transition is an open conversation between New Yorkers, as we begin to think about how we transition to the next mayor. Topics include: "The New Resilient City: Big Infrastructure Meets Community Fabric," "From the Edge of Disaster: How Activists and Insiders Can Use the Lessons of Hurricane Sandy to Make the City Safer," "Sustainable, Healthy, and Resilient Construction," and "Rethinking City Building: New Priorities for Zoning and Preservation"

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11/11: Five Workshops on Hurricane Sandy & Making Change

Join Superstorm Research Lab, a mutual aid research collective, and our allies in five free, open workshops designed to address past, current, and future problems related to disaster and the complexities of justice on the ground. Workshops will be followed by a panel discussion, "A Tale of Two Sandys," that highlights current research in this area.

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