Culture, Sustainability and Disaster Recovery : A Sociological, Architectural and Cultural Approach

Day 1 John Robert CLAMMER

Course Description
The contemporary world is beset with a range of natural and manmade disasters (or a mixture of the two). Although many approaches to disaster management are technical – focusing on such issues as water supply, food, engineering solutions, etc. underlying these are cultural and sociological factors, and psychological ones too. The course will explore such an approach by looking at issues such as family, gender, age and handicap and issues of family disruption; reviewing cultural responses to disaster through theatre, art, poetry and literature; analyzing appropriate architecture for post-disaster situations; exploring the role of aid and humanitarian assistance; looking at models of economic, ecological and social regeneration that are sustainable in the long term; discussing the interesting theoretical questions that arise when social and ecological breakdown occurs and will review the policy implications of a more sociological and cultural approach to disaster management than has previously been the case. The course will be comparative and interdisciplinary in nature and will examine a number of case studies of both natural disasters and post conflict situations that have much in common with them.

Details

Year/Term
2019 / Intensive, Second semester
Date
February 10th to March 26th, 2020
Faculty/
Graduate School
General Education
Language
English
Instructor name
John Robert CLAMMER(Visiting Professor)

Syllabus

Term 2019 / Intensive, Second semester Course Type Lecture
Target Year All Target Student All
Language English Day/Period February 10, 12, 17, 19, 27, March 3, 5, 9, 10, 12, 16, 17, 24, 26 (2 periods/day)
Instructor name
CLAMMER, John Robert
Outline and Purpose of the Course
The contemporary world is beset with a range of natural and man-made disasters (or a mixture of the two). Although many approaches to disaster management are technical – focusing on such issues as water supply, food, engineering solutions, etc. underlying these are cultural and sociological factors, and psychological ones too. The course will explore such an approach by looking at issues such as family, gender, age and handicap and issues of family disruption; reviewing cultural responses to disaster through theatre, art, poetry and literature; analyzing appropriate architecture for post-disaster situations; exploring the role of aid and humanitarian assistance; looking at models of economic, ecological and social regeneration that are sustainable in the long term; discussing the interesting theoretical questions that arise when social and ecological breakdown occurs and will review the policy implications of a more sociological and cultural approach to disaster management than has previously been the case. The course will be comparative and interdisciplinary in nature and will examine a number of case studies of both natural disasters and post-conflict situations that have much in common with them.
Course Goals
The formal goal of the course is to provide students with a clear understanding of approaches to disaster management from a more sociological point of view, to be able to successfully analyze case studies, to apply insights from their own major to actual social situations, and to develop imaginative responses to humanitarian and natural crises. Beyond this lies the desire to equip students with skills in interdisciplinary thinking, paper writing, the successful completion of practical exercises such as designing post-crisis housing, and an insight into cultural differences and the ways in which they play out in real-life situations. From the student’s point of view it is hoped that they will be stimulated to acquire skills transferable across courses, to write succinct literature reviews and to analyze cases. The course will have substantial academic goals, but would also prepare students for possible careers in NGO, UN agencies, Humanitarian aid agencies and similar professions.
Schedule and Contents
Day 1:
a. An introduction to the subject and setting out of course requirements and expectations.
b. Explaining and exploring the social and cultural approach to disaster prevention and recovery. What is distinctive about it? How does it work in practice? -

Day 2:
c. Introdution to preliminary case studies that illustrate the above points.

Day 3:
a. How to ensure that post-disaster responses are sustainable?

Day 4:
b. Models of social, economic and ecological restoration in a variety of contexts.
c. Case studies of post-disaster and post-conflict situations: a deeper analysis.

Day 5:
a. The social psychology of adaptation: how do people cope?
b. Trauma studies and their relevance to disaster management.

Day 6:
c. Case studies from Rwanda, the West Indies, Japan and Africa.

Day 7:
a. Cultural responses to disaster and displacement: theatre, poetry, literature.
b. Cities as focal points of disaster prevention and recovery: issues and case studies.

Day 8:
c. Appropriate architecture: designs for living (again): A workshop session.

Day 9:
a. Exploring parallels between natural disaster victims, conflict victims and refugees.
b. The role of aid and humanitarian responses: does it help recovery or hinder it? The role of International organizations, NGOs and non-state actors.

Day 10:
c. Climate change and its implications: adaptation, mitigation, prevention.
a. Policy Implications of a sociological approach and the politics and economics of disaster prevention and recovery.

Day 11:
b. Education about and in disaster situations: what is appropriate? - Designing a syllabus.
c. Relationships between disaster studies and global issues: climate change in particular.

Day 12:
a. Theoretical implications: what can we learn from the study of why and how societies break down?
b. Chaos theory and its applications to non-linear social situations.

Day 13:
c. The strengths and limitations of a sociological and cultural approach and its possible applications as a form of “applied sociology”
-a. Review of the material covered.

Day 14:
b. Presentation of student reports.

Day 15:
c. Overview and ways forward: what have we learned that can be applied across a range of topics and real-life situations?
Evaluation Methods and Policy
The course will be a mixture of lectures, seminar style discussions, analysis of case studies and practical work. Full attendance is expected and the course will be evaluated on the basis of continuous assessment as follows: Active attendance and participation: 10%, Case study reports (3 in total at 15% each), practical work (designing culturally appropriate post-disaster shelter) 25%, and book reports (2 in total), at 10% each. In evaluating performance the standard rubrics will be applied and will be made available to class participants: these range from “poor” (inadequate grasp of basic material, inability to understand key concepts etc.) to “excellent”(firm grasp of concepts, ability to write convincing and fluent papers, originality, etc.)
Course Requirements
No specific pre-requisites are mandated and students from any discipline are welcome. The course is interdisciplinary in nature and all material will be explained and analyzed in class and all reading material will be discussed. The primary prerequisite is interest and possibly the intention to pursue a career in international development.
Study outside of Class (preparation and review)
These will be assigned where appropriate. - It is expected that students will do assigned reading, report writing and preparation of practical exercises out of class hours. The amount of such work will be calibrated to be reasonable, but in the expectation that students will come to class prepared for that session’s discussion. Readings should be done before class, and a certain amount of homework will be necessary when preparing the practical exercise. Care will be taken that this is not excessive. Students should read to grasp both the key concepts and the nature of the case material presented in each reading. Some initiative will be expected in that students will also be encouraged to find additional sources and case studies as the course evolves.
References, etc.
Textbook
Cultures of Transition and Sustainability, John Clammer, (Palgrave Macmillan), ISBN:978-1-137-53222-0
Architecture for Crisis, Marie J. Aquilino Beyond Shelter, (London: Thames and Hudson; New York: Metropolis Books.), ISBN:978-0-500-28915-0
Reference
Performing (for) Survival: Theatre, Crisis, Extremity, Patrick Duggan and Lisa Peschel (eds.), (Palgrave Macmillan), ISBN:978-1-349-56857-4
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