Reframing Disaster Conference, 28–29 November 2014

Reframing Disaster Conference Programme PDF

Reframing Disaster Abstract Booklet PDF

Reframing Disaster Conference Poster PDF

2014 is a significant year for commemorating and thinking through the legacies of major global catastrophes. This year marks the 30th anniversary of Bhopal Gas Disaster in India, the 20th anniversary of the Rwandan Genocide, and the 10th anniversary of the South Asian tsunami. While much attention is being paid to the centenary of World War I, we would like to counterpoint this by considering the politics of remembering, commemorating, and supporting long-term recovery in relation to a range of compound catastrophes that have deep colonial roots.

Given that Bhopal, Rwanda, and the Tsunami have all generated significant media interest alongside diverse forms of creative response (from art to social activism), this conference will explore how these and other postcolonial disasters have been defined and represented following the initial event. It will examine the particular challenges posed by different forms of disaster (industrial, environmental, social), and connect these with aid and reconstruction work across multiple sectors.

The conference will be public-facing, and to speak across diverse sectors and audiences. Featuring discussions and workshops on:

  • Humanitarianism and global giving
  • Disasters, photography, and the media
  • Disasters in art, literature, and films
  • Disasters, colonialism, and globalisation
  • The Bhopal Medical Appeal and the Haiti Support Group
  • State responsibilities and global justice campaigns;
  • Slow violence and defining disaster


Friday 28 November, The Carriageworks, Millennium Square

9.30: Registration and Refreshments

10.00: Plenary – Reframing Disaster (Main Auditorium)
Anthony Carrigan, University of Leeds

10.30: Panel 1 – Disasters in the Field (Main Auditorium)
Ilan Kelman, University College London
Megabytes of doom: Exploring ‘disaster’ through island photography

Linda Annala, Hanken School of Economics
Ethics of the “do no harm” principle in field research: A framework and post-colonial critique of research designs in humanitarian settings

Chair: David Higgins

10.30: Panel 2 – Africa, Disaster, and the Media (Millennium Room)
Amy Rushton, University of Manchester
Reframing the ‘tragic continent’: Is Africa a Disaster?

Jacklyn Lacey, American Museum of Natural History
Haemorrhage: Hypocritical dimensions of international public health and media responses in Ebola outbreaks, 1976–2014

Chair: Arthur Rose

11.15: Refreshment Break

11.30: Panel 3 – Writing Disaster Governance (Main Auditorium)
Liam O’Loughlin, University of Pittsburgh
Crisis contained: The poetics of bureaucratic disaster

Sourit Bhattacharya, University of Warwick
Disaster, geography, and literary realism: Three novels of the 1943–44 Bengal famine

Chair: Hannah Boast

11.30: Panel 4 – Legacies of Empire (Millennium Room)
Matthew Davidson, Trent University
Sanitizing empire: From occupation to epidemic in Haiti

Mohammed Berrada, The New School for Social Research, NY
50+ years of Independence and still serving the master: The slow violence of economic servitude

12.15: Plenary Panel – Disaster Relief: Charity and Humanitarianism (Main Auditorium)
Martin Cottingham, Islamic Relief
Hamid Azad, Muslim Aid

Chair: Shamira Meghani

13.00: Lunch Break

13.45: Creative Contributions for Kala Sangam performance (all delegates)

14.00: Plenary – Humanitarian Challenges (Main Auditorium)
Barry Munslow, Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine
Learning from the past whilst trapped in the present: humanitarian challenges now and for the future

Chair: Anthony Carrigan

14.15—16.00: Writing environmental justice: A participatory ‘zine workshop (Room 3)
Melanie Böckmann, University of Bremen

14.45: Plenary Panel – Poetics of Recovery (Main Auditorium)
Anne Collett, University of Copenhagen
‘Growing Towards New Meaning’: Poetic response to the Great East Japan disaster of 3.11

Minoli Salgado, University of Sussex
Disasters natural and unnatural: Bearing witness to war and the tsunami in A Little Dust on the Eyes

Chair: John McLeod

15.30: Refreshment Break

15.45: Panel 5 – Framing Crisis and Emergency (Main Auditorium)
Agnes Woolley, Royal Holloway & Mariangela Palladino, Keele University
Responding to crisis: Forced migration in the twenty-first century

Sam Haddow, Central School of Speech & Drama, University of London
Framing an Emergency

Chair: Marjaana Jauhola

15.45 Panel 6: Writing Political Structures (Millennium Room)
Lucy Evans, University of Leicester
Writing on the ‘verge of disaster’: A noir aesthetic in Edwidge Danticat’s Claire of the Sea Light

Nicola Robinson, University of York
Debating disaster reconstruction: The South Asia tsunami in Sri Lankan literature

Chair: Philip Kaisary

16.30: Relocate for Reframing Disaster: Commemoration and Creativity (17.30–21.30 @ The Tetley; dinner incl. for conference participants; bar open till 11pm)

Reframing Disaster: Commemoration and Creativity
The Tetley, Hunslet Road, Leeds

5.30pm: Anthony Carrigan, welcome and exhibition introduction
6.00pm: Susan Meiselas interviewed by Jay Prosser
7.00pm: Dinner for conference participants
7.30pm: Francesca Moore on Bhopal: Facing30
8.15pm: Minoli Salgado Q&A and reading from her poetry and new novel
A Little Dust on the Eyes
9.00pm: Kala Sangam dance performance

Saturday 29 November: Business School, University of Leeds

09.15: Registration and Refreshments

09.45: Panel 1 – Climates of Disaster (Maurice Keyworth LT G02)
Fuad Ali, University of Greenwich
Decolonising Macaulayian political ecologies: Through Rana Plaza and Motijheel

David Higgins, University of Leeds
Colonialism and climate change: Representing the Tambora eruption of 1815

Chair: Sourit Bhattacharya

09.45: Panel 2 – Humanitarian Continuities (Seminar Room 106)
Marjaana Jauhola, University of Helsinki
Everyday politics of post-disaster humanitarianism in the urban Banda Aceh, Indonesia

Malka Older, Institute of Political Studies, Sciences Po
Over Here and Over There: How the dynamic of humanitarian response is replicated and differentiated in domestic disasters

Chair: Ilan Kelman

10.30: Panel 3 – Disaster Temporalities (Maurice Keyworth LT G02)
Arthur Rose, University of Leeds
Disastrous non-events: South African asbestosis and the absence of date

Amy M. Hay, University of Texas–Pan American
War in Vietnam and the war on drugs: Agent Orange herbicides in the global south

Chair: Mohammed Berrada

10.30: Panel 4 – Pakistan and Catastrophe (Seminar Room 106)
Humaira Saeed, Nottingham Trent University
Colonial culpability and national liberation: Narrativising the Partition of India and creation of Pakistan

Saira Dogar, University of Leeds
Tsunami as metaphor: Political rhetoric or real change in Pakistan?

Chair: Shamira Meghani

11.15: Refreshment Break

11.30: Panel 5 – Tsunamis, Megadams, and Water Wars: Reframing Hydropolitical Disaster (Maurice Keyworth LT G02)
Hannah Boast, University of York
Water wars and everyday disaster in Palestinian Literature and Film

Christine Gilmore, University of Leeds
National development, Nubian disaster: Slow violence and the legacy of the Aswan High Dam

Will Wright, University of Sheffield
Tourism, spectacle and consuming the tsunami

Chair: Lucy Evans

11.30: Panel 6 – Rwandan Graphic: Education, Reception, and the Literary and Cultural Response to 1994 (Seminar Room 106)

Frances Hemsley, University of Leeds
Sam Knowles
Jade Munslow Ong, University of Salford

Chair: Amy Rushton

12.30: Plenary – Palomares at 50 (Maurice Keyworth LT G02)
John Howard, King’s College London

Chair: Anthony Carrigan

13.00: Lunch and poster presentation (Abdulrahman Bashwari, University of Leeds)

13.45: Pre-release Screening – Bhopal: A Prayer for Rain, dir. Ravi Kumar (Maurice Keyworth LT G02)
Starring Martin Sheen, Mischa Barton, and Kal Penn (96 mins)

Introduced by Clare Barker

15.45: Refreshment Break

16.00: Plenary Panel – The Politics of Activism (Maurice Keyworth LT G02)
Clare Barker, University of Leeds
Disaster, disability, ‘damage’: Representing Bhopal’s poster children

Pamela McCallum, University of Calgary
Disaster, distance, representation: Yolanda Domìnguez’s ‘Fashion Victims’

Chair: Jacklyn Lacey

16.45: Panel 9 – Slow Violence, Unfolding Catastrophes (Maurice Keyworth LT G02)
Philip Kaisary, University of Warwick
The paradox of catastrophe: Richard Wright and the Mississippi flood of 1927

Sophia Brown, University of Kent
The slow violence of occupation: Narrating Palestinian life in East Jerusalem

Chair: Liam O’Loughlin

16.45: Workshop – Building Back Better? Post-Earthquake Haiti: A Disaster in the Making (Seminar Room 106)

Kasia Mika, University of Leeds and Haiti Support Group
Eve Hayes de Kalaf, University of Aberdeen and Haiti Support Group

17.30: Roundtable – Reflections on Reframing Disaster (Maurice Keyworth LT G02)

18.00: Close

18.30: Drinks and food at Bundobust (near the train station)