Research on human-environment interactions often neglects the resources of the humanities. Hurricane Katrina and the resulting levee breaches in New Orleans offer a case study on the need for inclusion of the humanities in the study of human-environment interactions, particularly the resources they provide in examining ethics and value concerns. Methods from the humanities, when developed in partnership with those from the sciences and social sciences, can provide a more accurate, effective, and just response to the scientific and technological challenges we face as a global community.
Erin Moore Daly
This article explores the hidden, suppressed elements of New Orleans leading up to and immediately following Hurricane Katrina. The article is juxtaposed with excerpts from Italo Calvino's Invisible Cities in order to provide a lens through which to ask questions not typically raised by government officials, city planners, and science and technology experts. This uncovers aspects of New Orleans that must not be overlooked in the rebuilding process. If policy, culture, and technology render aspects of New Orleans invisible, then only by revealing these aspects can one ascertain the truth of the city.
During ethnographic research conducted in rural, southern Louisiana into the recovery from Hurricane Katrina and the Deepwater Horizon/BP oil spill, local narratives surrounding the impact of these catastrophes often contrasted their present
Edward J. Woodhouse
Was the Hurricane Katrina disaster an aberration, or did it emerge from decision-making processes similar to those governing other public outcomes? Is it more reasonable to expect post-disaster analyses to lead to systematic learning and improved policy, or not to change very much? Most generally, what can be learned about appropriate expertise and usable knowledge from the Katrina experience? I argue that many of the same processes and institutions are at work to create vulnerable populations, design the built environment carelessly with respect to public values, place barriers in the way of preventive action, and make it difficult for experts to contribute to improved outcomes. No doubt there will be some hurricane-specific learning in Katrina's wake, such as more houses on stilts, but political influentials are unlikely to revamp the systemic norms, practices, and institutions that helped shape the disaster. Implications are discussed for interdisciplinary, problem-focused research and community service by scientists, engineers, and other experts.
Neoliberal restructuring, racial politics, and resistance in post-Katrina New Orleans
Mathilde Lind Gustavussen
-led initiative called the John McDonogh Steering Committee, which demanded the return of John McDonogh Senior High School in the Mid-City neighborhood to the locally elected school board. Almost a decade earlier, in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Katrina
Victoria C. Ramenzoni and David Yoskowitz
The demand for social indicators has increased exponentially over the past 10 years. Hurricanes Sandy, Ike, and Katrina and the Deepwater Horizon oil spill have shown important gaps in how institutions prepare and respond to extreme events. The
Anna J. Wesselink, Wiebe E. Bijker, Huib J. de Vriend, and Maarten S. Krol
This article shows how Dutch technological culture has historically dealt with and developed around vulnerability with respect to flooding and indicates recent developments in attitude towards the flood threat. The flooding of New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina temporarily made the Dutch public worry about the flood defense infrastructure in the Netherlands, exemplified by the Delta Works. Could this happen in the Netherlands? After the flooding disaster of 1953, a system of large dams was built to offer safety from flooding with—in theory at least—protection levels that are much higher than in New Orleans. In the public's perception the protection offered is absolute. In practice not all flood defense structures are as secure as they are supposed to be, but their upgrading takes time and money. Katrina has served as a reminder of what is at stake: Can the Dutch afford to take another 10 years to restore the protection level of their flood defenses? Calls for pride in clever engineering are the latest in a continuing debate on the best way to continue life below sea level.
Politics of Recognition and Myths of Race
At the time of this writing, the world is watching incredulously as terror and deprivation ravage the poorest citizens of New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. The region’s middle class and elite fled the disaster, while federal authorities’ inaction resulted in starvation for those too poor to leave. Such callousness embodied in US civil society and state institutions has been made transparent to the world, illuminating the increasing class inequality that has evolved since the passage of the Civil Rights Act. In light of this conflation of racism and class inequality, this forum focuses on the ways that multi-cultural politics mystify such power relations with romantic recollections of popular resistance to racism in the post–World War II era: decolonization, the US civil rights movement, and the fall of apartheid in South Africa.
Theorizing the Spatiality of Protest
Dimitris Soudias and Tareq Sydiq
“prototheoretical engagements” with the relationship between spatiality and protests to highlight the importance of keeping this research agenda alive. Note 1 Katrina Navickas (2015) is a notable and recent exception; her monograph focuses on the
Hannah Swee and Zuzana Hrdličková
the dynamics of recovery. For example, Vincanne Adams (2013) describes the role of the privatization of services and its economic impact on the long-term recovery from Hurricane Katrina in the US and Roberto Barrios (2011) looks at the complexities