A query into the social construction of (un)natural disasters: teaching (about) the biopolitics of disposability

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Dara Nilajah Nix-Stevenson (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site: http://library.uncg.edu/
Leila Villaverde

Abstract: This dissertation represents a theoretical and pragmatic interrogation of global disasters as natural in a comparative and historical context. Specifically the sixty year environmental degradation and contamination of Vieques, Puerto Rico by the U.S. Navy, The Boxer Day Tsunami, Hurricane Katrina, and the Haiti Earthquake are examined to expose fault lines involved in shaping vulnerability and resiliency pre- and post- disaster environments. Research reveals that in post-disaster environments, social institutions operationalize a biopolitics of disposability that is deeply rooted in histories of colonization. Colonial histories, as elaborated upon, reinforce racio-economics or commonsense justifications of racial hierarchy that articulate and define protocols of disaster mitigation, preparation, and response in different global contexts. The framework for exploring the polemics of disasters as discussed here consists of critical discourse analysis through the lens of critical race theory (CRT), critical pedagogy, and womanist theory to problematize questions pertaining to which government agencies or non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are best equipped to mobilize resources during times of disaster or crises. By focusing on the significance of racio-economics in exposing these (un)natural disaster's impact on human lives imbued with complex race and class histories, the case for K-12 environmental science curriculum framework is made to increase society's preparation against future disasters.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2013
Biopolitics, Boxer Day Tsunami, Disaster Education, Haiti Earthquake, Hurricane Katrina, Vieques, Puerto Rico
Environmental education
Environmental disasters $x Study and teaching
Environmental disasters $x Prevention
Environmental disasters $x Social aspects
Natural disasters $x Study and teaching
Natural disasters $x Prevention
Natural disasters $x Social aspects

Email this document to