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Ringvorlesung Schedule WiSe2020/21

News vom 04.11.2020

Program as PDF

Disasters and epidemic diseases are extremely disruptive to social life and cause widespread fear and anxiety. To maintain safety and security, the state and its political institutions respond to such emergencies by creating and implementing measures to control damage and ensure the eventual return to everyday life. But as the recent series of disasters in the U.S. -- the AIDS epidemic (1980s), 9/11 (2001), Hurricane Katrina (2005), the Financial Crisis (2008/9) or the current COVID-19 epidemic -- have shown, vulnerability varies within different social groups. Disasters and diseases expose and exacerbate systemic social problems such as racism and social inequality, which counter-measures often fail to address. Questions: With a series of presentations, the John F. Kennedy Institute wishes to look into the political, social and cultural efforts to cope with disaster in the US and Canada in the past and in the present. Which cultural scripts are available to cope with disaster and trauma? How do communication, coping mechanisms and cultural scripts, compare to previous pandemics and catastrophes? What was and is the role of the old and the new media in framing and explaining disaster and in legitimizing or de-legitimizing counter-measures? What were and are the long-term effects of disaster, and how are they retroactively evaluated in public discourse? Which role did and do transnational networks or institutions play in damage control? How do social movements renegotiate current political realities? What about visions of the future or of future transformative action mobilized by disasters? 

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