Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Disaster and Sustainability: The Cultural Perspective

»  Cross-posted from The Cardinal Lawyer  «

I will take part in a November 6-7 symposium called Disaster and Sustainability: The Cultural Perspective. The University of Copenhagen's Faculty of Law will stage this symposium at Carlsberg Akademi:
Carlsberg AkademiIt is widely accepted that the study of ecological and societal sustainability in general and climate change in particular involves all research disciplines from all faculties within the academy. The study of sustainability is inherently multi- as well as cross-disciplinary, given the fact that climate changes and other questions of sustainability relate to and influence every aspect of human society and its environment. In this two-day Copenhagen symposium, we will explore the huge and diverse field of sustainability studies by focusing on the interrelationship between sustainability and disaster as recto and verso of the same set of problems.

We consider the study of disasters an important and rewarding way of gaining knowledge about the sustainability of human societies and their environment. Disasters challenge the resilience and threaten the cohesion of the social fabric; however, disaster research shows how disasters can also strengthen the cohesion of a community in the short term, and work important changes in the long term.

In the recent decade the cultural and social aspects of disasters-questions such as how human societies contribute to the creation of disasters, how they perceive disasters, and how they respond when they strike-have gained acceptance as important constituents of disaster research. Yet the cultural perspective on sustainability studies-in the widest possible sense of the word, including social, economic, legal, religious, aesthetic, political, and philosophical inquiries-still seems like an area very much open for development and further research.

We have the pleasure of inviting scholars from all fields of research to explore the multi-faceted perspectives of the interrelationship between disaster and sustainability. With this symposium we hope to accelerate further research within the field. In joining scholars from different disciplines and traditions, we particularly hope to create an inspiring and synergizing platform for valuable exchanges in the years to come.


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