ICGC Brown Bag
Friday, December 7, 2012 12:00 noon,
537 Heller Hall
"What is Catastrophe?"
Presented by: Garnet Kindervater,
ICGC Interdisciplinary Doctoral Fellow,
Department of Political Science
Between economic crises, spontaneous acts of mass violence, so-called natural disasters, contagious pandemic, and other looming existential threats to human life, we seem almost constantly confronted by catastrophe. But what is catastrophe? For some, catastrophe signifies atrocity; for others, it represents a sudden event with only the grimmest levels of intensity and monstrousness. In this talk I discuss the conceptual flexibility of catastrophe as a way of beginning to theorize politics given to anticipating future disasters. Following this path, the concept of catastrophe presented will always be speculative and oriented by considerations of human security. Through a few pivotal examples and some intellectual history, I arrive at a historically flexible definition of catastrophe that has surprisingly little to do with disastrous events themselves.
For the complete Fall 2012 ICGC brown bag schedule, go to ICGC.umn.edu