risk and disaster co-chairs Thomas Hanson and Mei JohnsonThomas Hanson
Mei Johnson

The 2019 annual meeting of the SFAA was another success for the Risk and Disaster TIG. We were able to sponsor 21 panels and 115 papers/round table speakers (with none running concurrently), starting with Local Day where there were two R&D sponsored panels engaging disaster preparedness and organizing in Portland, Oregon. Topically sponsored panels included discussions about post-Harvey Houston, writing against vulnerability, critical issues in the Global South, intersections of indigenous cultures with risk/disaster and fossil fuel extraction, cross-cultural collaboration, and preventing disaster risk creation. Several of the panels critically engaged the concepts of risk and vulnerability within anthropological disaster research and practice. Overall the attendance of R&D TIG panels and events was high with standing room only in several panels. Members are already beginning discussion for next year’s panels and plenaries, and we look forward to another engaging and dynamic conference.

The annual business meeting was led by returning co-chair Thomas Hanson and our newest co-chair Mei Johnson. The meeting was a lively and productive discussion covering a range of topics including closing the gap between practitioner and academics, incorporation of more international colleagues, and fruitful future directions of the R&D TIG. We give a giant thank you to the outgoing co-chairs, Jennifer Trivedi and Melissa Sedlacik, for their hard work planning, supporting, and organizing for the R&D TIG over the past two years. 

Thomas Hanson, who will continue as a co-chair, has continued his doctoral studies over the past year at the University of Colorado Boulder. He has finished his dissertation fieldwork examining wildfire management and climate change in Bolivia and is a visiting scientist in the Mesoscale and Microscale Meteorology Laboratory at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) examining on hurricane vulnerability communication.  We are happy to welcome Mei Johnson as a new co-chair! Mei is the Delaware Citizen Corps Program Manager at the State of Delaware Emergency Management Agency and is a PhD candidate in Disaster Science and Management at the University of Delaware. Her work and research interests align with one another, focusing on disaster and emergency preparedness of the public, civilian “zero responder” emergency response training, and community outreach and communication.

R&D TIG members continue to be very active in practice and research of risk and disaster across the globe. Many TIG members continue to serve as members in Culture and Disaster Action Network (CADAN), http://cultureanddisaster.org/, a growing network of academics and practitioner working to support disaster professionals address complex issues related to risk reduction and disaster recovery. Recent publications by R&D TIG members cover broad issues related to risk and disaster. These timely publications topically include Building Cultures of Preparedness for FEMA (Browne and Olson, with Hegland, Jones, Maldonado, Marino, Maxwell, Stern, and Walsh), uncertainty and hurricane evacuations(Yang, Davidson, Blanton, Colle, Dresback, Kolar, Nozick, Trivedi, and Wachtendorf), and the social science of environmental cleanups (Maxwell, Kiessling, and Buckley), in addition to other publications. 

We are happy to welcome anyone who is interested in risk and disasters to our membership. In addition to our sessions throughout SFAA annual meetings, we have a listserv you can join at http://bit.ly/JoinRDTIG, a Twitter account at https://twitter.com/RiskDisasterTIG, and a Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/groups/1481802688698765/. We also maintain a directory of interested members and their specialties at https://bit.ly/RDTIGDirectory. The directory is intended to allow members to share their expertise and promote their work to the public or interested groups. If you are interested in being added, please contact Thomas Hanson at Thomas.hanson@colorado.edu.



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