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David Alexander

On 30 December 2009, the Italian government published Decree Law

No. 195, which dealt with the management of two contingencies:

toxic waste in the Campania region and recovery from the earthquake

of 6 April 2009 in Abruzzo. Article 16 of this legislative instrument

was rather different from the other 18 articles, in that it mandated

the privatization of civil protection in the form of a holding company

entitled Protezione Civile Servizi SpA. The prime minister was named

as the only shareholder, and start-up capital of 1 million euros was to

be supplied by the public purse. For the preceding six weeks, rumors

about this law had been circulating, but the head of the national

Department of Civil Protection (DPC) from 1991–2010, Guido Bertolaso,

had repeatedly denied that any such action was going to be

taken. As Article 14 of this decree law authorized the DPC to appoint

an unspecified number of new employees to permanent posts, a large

amount of unsupervised hiring took place.

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Seumas Bates

By conceptualizing the recovery from Hurricane Katrina and the Deepwater Horizon/BP oil spill as forming part of ongoing processes of “becoming” and the everyday, this article explores how the relative power of a historically privileged group of White males in rural Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana, faced significant challenge. First, through the breakdown of informal racial segregation in local social institutions, and through the newly ubiquitous nature of mobile homes threatening their rejection of “trailer trash” culture. Second, however, this impact must be understood within ongoing changes across wider American society, where a locally valorized ideal of normative 1950s culture was seen to be in conflict with the civil rights and feminist movements of the late twentieth century. This imagined cultural hegemony was therefore in serious decline long before these catastrophes, yet has now been confined to the time “before the Storm.”

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Sol Neely

Deadgirl (2008) is a horror film that gained notoriety on the film festival circuit for its disturbing premise: when a group of teenage social outcasts discover a naked female zombie strapped to a gurney in the basement of an abandoned asylum, they decide “to keep her” as a sex slave. Accordingly, two sites of monstrosity are staged—one with the monstrous-feminine and the other with monstrous masculinities. Insofar as the film explicitly exploits images of abjection to engender its perverse pleasures, it would seem to invite “abject criticism” in the tradition of Barbara Creed, Carol Clover, and colleagues. However, in light of recent critical appraisals about the limitations of “abjection criticism,” this article reads Deadgirl as a cultural artifact that demands we reassess how abjection is critically referenced, arguing that—instead of reading abjection in terms of tropes and themes—we should read it in diachronic, allegorical ways, which do not reify into cultural representation.

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Kah Seng Loh and Michael D. Pante

A history of urban floods underlines the state's efforts to discipline people as well as to control floodwaters. We focus on two big cities in Southeast Asia—Singapore and Metro Manila—in the period from after World War II until the 1980s. During this period, both cities traversed similar paths of demographic and socioeconomic change that had an adverse impact on the incidence of flooding. Official responses to floods in Singapore and Manila, too, shared the common pursuit of two objectives. The first was to tame nature by reducing the risk of flooding through drainage and other technical measures, as implemented by a modern bureaucracy. The second was to discipline human nature by eradicating “bad” attitudes and habits deemed to contribute to flooding, while nurturing behavior considered civic-minded and socially responsible. While Singapore's technocratic responses were more effective overall than those in Metro Manila, the return of floodwaters to Orchard Road in recent years has highlighted the shortcomings of high modernist responses to environmental hazards. This article argues that in controlling floods—that is, when nature is deemed hazardous—the state needs to accommodate sources of authority and expertise other than its own.

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Mimesis of the State

From Natural Disaster to Urban Citizenship on the Outskirts of Maputo, Mozambique

Morten Nielsen

This article explores the generative effects of the flooding that hit Mozambique in 2000. Flood victims from the country's capital, Maputo, were resettled in Mulwene on the outskirts of the city. Although initially envisaged as a 'model neighborhood' based on a set of 'fixed urban norms', it soon became apparent that the Mozambican state was incapable of realizing the project. These failures notwithstanding, residents occupying land informally in the neighborhood have parceled out plots and built houses by imitating those norms. Based on a Deleuzian reading of 'situational analysis', introduced by the Manchester School, the article argues that the flooding constituted a generative moment that gave rise to new and potentially accessible futures in which hitherto illegal squatters were reconfigured as legitimate citizens.

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Jeffrey A. Sluka

Disasters in Field Research: Preparing for and Coping with Unexpected Events Gillian H. Ice, Darna L. Dufour and Nancy J. Stevens, Lanham, MN: Rowman & Littlefield, 2015, ISBN: 978-0-7591-1802-7, 216pp., Pb: £22.95, $32.00.

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'Working through' and 'awkward poetics' in Second Generation Poetry

Lily Brett, Anne Michaels, Raymond Federman

Robert Eaglestone

The aim of this article is to explore a tension in understanding post-Holocaust writing, specifically Second Generation poetry, between the idea of ‘working through’ and the complexities of post-Holocaust writing that Antony Rowland describes as ‘awkward poetics’, the ‘noncathartic artistry of disaster’.

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Karen Hébert, Joshua Mullenite, Alka Sabharwal, David Kneas, Irena Leisbet Ceridwen Connon, Peter van Dommelen, Cameron Hu, Brittney Hammons and Natasha Zaretsky

TSING, Anna Lowenhaupt. The Mushroom at the End of the World: On the Possibility of Life in Capitalist Ruins

BIGGS, Reinette, Maja SCHÜLLER, and Michael L. SCHOON. Principles for Building Resilience: Sustaining Ecosystem Services in Social Ecological Systems

HELM, Dieter. Natural Capital: Valuing the Planet

KIRSCH, Stuart. Mining Capitalism: The Relationship between Corporations and Their Critics

KRÜGER, Fred, Greg BANKOFF, Terry CANNON, Benedikt ORLOWSKI, and E. Lisa F. SCHIPPER, eds. Cultures and Disasters: Understanding Cultural Framings in Disaster Risk Reduction

MCGREGOR, James H. S. Back to the Garden: Nature and the Mediterranean World from Prehistory to the Present

MOORE, Jason. Capitalism in the Web of Life: Ecology and the Accumulation of Capital

PIPER, Karen. The Price of Thirst: Global Water Inequality and the Coming Chaos

SCHNEIDER-MAYERSON, Matthew. Peak Oil: Apocalyptic Environmentalism and Libertarian Political Culture

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The Representation of Traumatic Memory in Spanish Comics

Remembering the Civil War and Francoism in Panels

Juan Carlos Pérez García

The graphic representation of traumatic memory of war disasters constitutes a broad tradition that can be traced back to Francisco Goya. Comics, with the resources provided by their textual-visual narrative, have been part of that tradition especially since the 1950s. However, representing traumatic memory of war disasters is troublesome, in regard to the artists’ strategies and public reception – as shown by the conflicts between memory, history and myth posed in these works. This article develops a comparative study of traumatic memories in Spanish comics and presents an analysis of the modes of representation in works such as Carlos Giménez’s Paracuellos, Francisco Gallardo Sarmiento and Miguel Gallardo’s Un largo silencio, Antonio Altarriba and Kim’s El arte de volar and Paco Roca’s Los surcos del azar.

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Ailise Bulfin

This article explores late Victorian fictions of natural catastrophe and their relationship to contemporary developments in the natural sciences. During this era, popular culture had become saturated with an 'apocalyptic imaginary' – a myriad of images of degeneration, total war and the fall of civilisation. While the majority of popular catastrophe texts turn on disasters of a man-made, military nature, including global wars, nationalist uprisings, and domestic revolutions, a significant subset employ natural disaster as the means of catastrophe – some dramatising the astronomical theories of cometary collision or the heat death of the sun, and others postulating meteorological and geological disasters such as volcanic eruption, earthquake, fog, ice, flood, and even climate change. These include H.G. Wells and George Griffith's tales of comet strike, M.P. Shiel and Grant Allen's volcano tales, and William Delisle Hay, Robert Barr and Fred M. White's accounts of deadly fog. This article relates this little-known body of texts to developing Victorian concerns about the sustainability of human life on earth, arguing that by focusing on determining the causes of the catastrophes depicted it is possible to see links emerging between 'natural' catastrophe and human activity in Victorian thinking and hence the development of an ecological awareness.