Risk and Disaster TIG

Risk and Disaster Scholarship in Times of Pandemic

Joyce Rivera-González
Jennifer Trivedi
Noémie Gonzalez Bautista 
As we continue to grieve and navigate a catastrophic, politically-divisive global pandemic, whose risks have been unevenly distributed from the very start, the work of Risk & Disaster Topical Interest Group (RDTIG) members highlight the urgency and relevance of critical approaches to disaster studies. Our work is not only positioned to highlight these dynamics, but it is ethically obligated to actively challenge the structural factors by which pandemics and disasters are distributed unequally along axes of race, class, nationality, gender, among others. 

Part of fostering an inclusive anthropology is to embrace the revolutionary potential of the social sciences, echoing the theme for the 2022 Annual Meeting of the SfAA. Our TIG is committed to a practice of radical scholarship, highlighted in the growing work of the RDTIG Anti-Racism Committee. Per this group’s mission statement, we are committed to supporting and facilitating anti-racist initiatives related to mentoring, funding, research, and teaching, among others, and—hopefully—pave the way for a more just, inclusive anthropological praxis. 

Here is but a sample of the amazing work many of our members have conducted during this past year: 


Stephen O. Bender published Constructing Risk: Disaster, Development, and the Built Environment, published by Berghahn Books this past August.

Mark Schuller has published the volume Humanity's Last Stand: Confronting Global Catastrophe with the Rutgers University Press, which explores “the interconnections between climate change, global capitalism, xenophobia, and white supremacy.” He also published an article by the same title previous to the release of the volume in the journal Anthropology Now.

Ilan Kelman is one of the co-editors, alongside Stefano Moncada, Lino Briguglio, Hilary Bambrick, Catherine Iorns, and Leonard Nurse, of the volume Small Island Developing States: Vulnerability and Resilience under Change, published by Springer


Adriana Garriga-López and Jessica Mulligan published the article “Forging compromiso after the storm: activism as ethics of care among health care workers in Puerto Rico” in the Critical Public Health journal.  
Lesley Iaukea, Heather Lazrus, Julie Maldonado, Paulette Blanchard, Theresa Dardar, John Doyle, Fred Eningowuk, Dennis Longknife, Melonee Montano, Michelle Montgomery, Jasmine Neosh, Margarita Nogueras-Vidal, James Rattling Leaf, Sr., and M. Kalani Souza published the article “Bringing Indigenous and Earth Sciences, Knowledges, and Practices Together to Understand and Respond to COVID-19” in the Journal of Indigenous Social Development.  
Julie Maldonado and Kristina Peterson published “Justice-Driven Disaster Recovery: Baseline Data to Support Safe Communities, Healthy Ecosystems, and a Rejuvenated Future” in the Natural Hazards Center Quick Response Grant Report Series.
A.J. Faas, Chelsea Halliwell, Ailea Merriam-Pigg, DeDe Patterson, Jamieson Mockel; From Applied Research to Participatory Action, Part I: Beyond the “Bucket Theory” of Community-Based Leadership in Practicing Anthropology. In the same volume, this team of authors published the Spanish-translated version of this article, “De la Investigación Aplicada a la Acción Participativa, Parte I: Más Allá de la “Teoría del Balde” del Liderazgo Comunitario.” A.J. Faas also published, alongside María del del Rosario Marcelo Brito, the piece “From Applied Research to Participatory Action, Part II: Y Ahora, ¿que? Community Dialogues and Rediscovering Our Communities.” Rich Saito, A.J. Faas, and Jim McClure published “This Must Be the Place: Partnerships for Disaster Preparedness in San Jose’s Historic Japantown” in Practicing Anthropology. Cheryl Cowan, Kalyn Mumma, Johnny Nguyen, and A.J. Faas published “Japantown Prepared And Organizational Studies: Campus-Community Partnerships For Disaster Preparedness” in Practicing Anthropology. Ashkan Ghasemian, Jennifer Sánchez-Cortes, A.J. Faas, Cheryl Cowan, and Mateen Tabrizi published “Building Community-Level Disaster Preparedness Through Small Business Corporate Social Responsibility And Social Marketing” in Practicing Anthropology.
Mamyrah Dougé-Prosper & Mark Schuller published the editor’s note “End of Empire? A View from Haiti” in NACLA Report of the Americas, exploring the historical intersections and processes of state violence between the United States and Haiti. In the same volume of NACLA, James Beltis and Vélina Charlier published “Fighting for Survival, Building for Power” on anti-corruption and social movements in Haiti. Ninaj Raoul published the article “Organizing Against the Immigration Cruelty Apparatus,” which explores how anti-Blackness, globalization, and authoritarianism has shaped American migration and border policy, exemplified through current exoduses and mistreatment of Haitian migrants.
Irasema Alcántara-Ayala, Ian Burton, Allan Lavell, Elizabeth Mansilla, Andrew Maskrey, Anthony Oliver-Smith and Fernando Ramírez-Gómez have published an editorial in the International Journal for Disaster Risk Reduction titled “Root causes and policy dilemmas of the COVID-19 pandemic global disaster.”
Jacqline Wolf Tice and David Casagrande published a chapter in the edited volume Global Im-Possibilities: Exploring the Paradoxes of Just Sustainabilities (edited by Phoebe Godfrey and Mary Buchanan, and published by Bloomsbury) titled “The sovereignty paradox: Negotiating values amid tribal adaptation to shale oil extraction.”
A.R. Siders, Idowu Ajibade, and David Casagrande published the piece “Transformative potential of managed retreat as climate adaptation” in Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability.
Irena L.C. Connon  and Edward Hall published the piece “‘It’s not about having a back-up plan; it’s about always being in back-up mode’: Rethinking the relationship between disability and vulnerability to extreme weather” in the journal Geoforum.
Elisabeth Moolenaar published the chapter “The Earth is Trembling and We Are Shaken: Governmentality and Resistance in the Groningen Gas Field” in the edited volume Ethnographies of Power: A Political Anthropology of Energy, published by the European Society of Social Anthropologists’ Energy Anthropology Network. In this same volume, Austin Lord and Matthäus Rest published the chapter “‘Nepal’s Water, the People’s Investment’? Hydropolitical Volumes and Speculative Refrains.” 
Rebecca E. Morss, Heather Lazrus, and Julie L. Demuth published in Risk Analysis the article “The “Inter” Within Interdisciplinary Research: Strategies for Building Integration Across Fields.” 

Alessandra Jerolleman published “Storytelling and Narrative Research in Crisis and Disaster Studies” in the Oxford Research Encyclopedia’s Politics. Alessandra also published “Lessons from Concurrent Disasters: COVID-19 and Eight Hurricanes” in Natural Hazards, alongside Shirley Laska and Julie Torres. 

Brittany Kiessling and Keely Maxwell published “Conceptualizing and Capturing Outcomes of Environmental Cleanup at Contaminated Sites” in Environment and Society. Kiessling and Maxwell also published, alongside Jenifer Buckley “The sedimented social histories of environmental cleanups: An ethnography of social and institutional dynamics” in the Journal of Environmental Management.
Jennifer Trivedi published the article “Is This Still Triage? Or Are We Back to Teaching?” in Teaching and Learning Anthropology Journal. Jenn also published “COVID-19: What Do Recoveries Look Like?” in Practicing Anthropology. (In addition to all this wonderful work, Jenn is the Risk & Disaster TIG Social Media Manager).
Alexa S. Dietrich published “Pollution, Health, and Disaster: Emerging Contributions in Ethnographic Research” in Environment and Society.

Kiram Jayaram, Tess Kulstad-González, Luisa Rollins Castillo, and Nadège Nau published the event-conference review “Debating Decolonization in the Caribbean: Assessment and Polyvocal Response to Island Anthropologies Workshop (March 18–20, 2019)” in The Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Anthropology.
Gloria Delany-Barmann, Heather McIlvaine-Newsad, and Pedro Bidegaray published the chapter “Study Abroad as Community Engagement and Activism: Cultivating a Pedagogy of Place” in the edited volume Education Abroad: Learning Environments in a Global Context, edited by Erin A. Mikulec, Samantha Potempa, and Kara Pike Inman, and published by Information Age Publishing.
Aaron Clark-Ginsberg published, alongside Jay Balagna, Lena C. Easton-Calabria, Sonny S. Patel, and Leslie A. Payne, the article “When disaster management agencies create disaster risk: a case study of the US’s Federal Emergency Management Agency” in Disaster Prevention and Management.

Cary Wu, Eric B. Kennedy, Yue Qian, and Rima Wilkes published “Anti-Asian Racism during COVID-19: How Have Native-Born Asians and Foreign-Born Asians Fared Differently?” in SSRN.

Some academic pieces published this year by Ilan Kelman include: “Academic publishing in disaster risk reduction: past, present, and future,” a co-authored piece with David Alexander, J.C. Gaillard, Fausto Marincioni, Edmund Penning-Rowsell, Dewald van Niekerk, and Lauren J. Vinnell, which was published in Disasters; “Linking Disaster Risk Reduction and Healthcare in Locations with Limited Accessibility: Challenges and Opportunities of Participatory Research,” co-authored with Myles Harris and published in the International Journal of Environmental Health and Public Health; and “Search without rescue? Evaluating the international search and rescue response to earthquake disasters,” co-authored with Anna Rom and published in BMJ Global Health, Check out more of his publications here
Lori Peek, alongside Seth Guikema, co-edited the special issue on “Interdisciplinary Theory, Methods, and Approaches for Hazards and Disaster Research” in the journal Risk Analysis. In this same issue, she also co-authored the article “Getting Interdisciplinary Teams into the Field: Institutional Review Board Preapproval and Multi-Institution Authorization Agreements for Rapid Response Disaster Research” alongside Jennifer Tobin, John W. van de Lindt, and Anne Andrews. She also co-authored “Incorporating Mental Health Research into Disaster Risk Reduction: An Online Training Module for the Hazards and Disaster Workforce” alongside Candace Evans and Rachel M. Adams, published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health

Julie Maldonado, Itzel Flores Castillo Wang, Fred Eningowuk, Lesley Iaukea, Aranzazu Lascurain, Heather Lazrus, Chief Albert Naquin, JR Naquin, Kukuya Margarita Nogueras Vidal, Kristina Peterson, Isabel Rivera-Collazo, M. Kalani Souza, Mark Stege, and Bill Thomas published “Addressing the challenges of climate-driven community-led resettlement and site expansion: knowledge sharing, storytelling, healing, and collaborative coalition building” in the Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences

Olivia Van Buskirk, Paulina Ćwik, Renee A. McPherson, Heather Lazrus, Elinor Martin, Charles Kuster, and Esther Mullens published “Listening to Stakeholders: Initiating Research on Sub-seasonal to Seasonal Heavy Precipitation Events in the Contiguous U.S. by First Understanding What Stakeholders Need” in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society
Andrew L. Littlejohn published “The potential of intangible loss: reassembling heritage and reconstructing the social in post‐disaster Japan” in Social Anthropology. Littlejohn also published “Ruins for the future: critical allegory and disaster governance in post-tsunami Japan” in American Ethnologist


A.J. Faas and Jennifer Trivedi organized the RDTIG Academic Publishing Workshop, aimed at students, junior scholars, and practitioners interested in academic publishing.
Elizabeth Marino and Dennis Davis hosted the talk “Pulling at the Thread: Why Climate Change Driven Relocation is Such a Difficult Problem to Solve” at Archaeology First Thursdays.

Roberto Barrios participated in the Ohio State University’s Center for Historical Research’s series “Crisis, Uncertainty, and History” with the lecture “A Crisis for Whom? Epistemologies, Historiographies, and Praxis in Times of Upheaval.”  Roberto Barrios participated in the Lund University’s Society for Critical Studies of Crisis webinar “Social Resilience, Neoliberalism, and Socioeconomic Crises,” with the talk “On Revelations and Epistemic Intensification: Resilience, Crisis, and Change in Disaster Anthropology.”  He was also one of the presenters at the Southwestern Anthropological Association symposium “Anthropology in Times of Intersecting Crises.”


Joyce Rivera-González was selected as part of the Contributing Editors Program for the Society for Cultural Anthropology, where she is working as a Contributing Editor for the podcast AnthroPod. Joyce is also one of the TIG’s co-chairs.
Anuszka Musurska, Katy Davis, Emmanuel Raju, Danielle Rivera, and Susanna Hoffman, among others, are among the contributors to the Disasters: Deconstructed Podcast S5E6 “Disaster as Event or Process?”
Ilan Kelman was a contributor at the Urban Health Council podcast, Centric Lab. He participated in the episode “How to Equitably Engage with Community Expertise with Prof. Ilan Kelman of UCL.” 

Alexa S. Dietrich and Joyce Rivera-González published “Ethical Uncertainties in Times of Socially-Distanced Social Research” in the Practicing Anthropology Blog

Adriana Garriga-López, Marinilda Rivera Díaz, Handerson Joseph, Glorimarie Peña Alicea, and Patricia Noboa Ortega published the essay “(In)movilidades en el Caribe durante la pandemia de COVID-19” in Revista Común, in September 2021. 
K. Jessica Hsu and Mark Schuller published the essay “Haiti’s Earthquakes Require a Haitian Solution” in the NACLA bulletin, following the catastrophic earthquake in southwest Haiti in 2021.

Jim Whittington, Aaron Clark-Ginsberg, and Jay Balagna published the opinion piece “Climate change is only one driver of explosive wildfire seasons — don't forget land management” in The Hill

Elizabeth Marino led the NSF-sponsored project Adaptations to Repetitive Flooding: Understanding Cross-Cultural and Legal Possibilities for Long-Term Solutions to Flooding Disaster. Her work on public health communication and COVID-19 vaccines through the Laboratory for American Conservation was also featured in the Bend Bulletin, the Albany Democrat-Herald, and Oregon Public Broadcasting.

Ilan Kelman published the essay “When disaster strikes” in Engelsberg Ideas

Heather McIlvaine-Newsad contributed a plethora of commentary for the Tri States Public Radio during this past year, including “The Lasting Legacy of Dr. Patricia Anderson,” “Pandemic Burnout,” “Heroes are Compassionate,” and “Dole for Pineapple, Slick Willy, and Voter Suppression.”

Lastly, both Noémie Gonzalez Bautista and Jenn Trivedi continue doing amazing work in their roles, as the RDTIG’s Co-Chair and Social Media Manager, respectively. This year, we also welcomed Joyce Rivera-González as the group’s newest Co-Chair. 

If you are interested in more of the work that our TIG is doing in the world, connect with us! Please visit our Linktree for more information. Lastly, if you are a member of the RDTIG, we want to feature and highlight your work! Please email us at riskanddisastertig@gmail.com and we will make sure to include all of your wonderful contributions to our next newsletter. 

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