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Dialectics of Disaster: Earthquakes and State Formation in Latin America

NOV 09, 2012 | 4:00 PM



The Graduate Center
365 Fifth Avenue




November 09, 2012: 4:00 PM




Mark Healey
University of Connecticut

Amy Chazkel
Queens College and The Graduate Center, CUNY

Mauricio Font
Bildner Center for Western Hemisphere Studies


Tracing the cases of three nations in the Andes -- Argentina, Chile, and Peru -- this talk reveals how natural disasters were key sites for state formation over the twentieth century.  By looking at changing disaster, expectations of rebuilding, and capacities of action, this talk brings into view the importance of disasters as sites for thinking and remaking the political. Taking episodes of crisis seriously but moving beyond the episodic approach common to current accounts, it develops a comparative history of governance after disaster along the Pacific Ring of Fire.

About the Speakers:

Mark Healey (Ph.D., Duke University) is Assistant Professor at the University of Connecticut. He is the author of The Ruins of the New Argentina: Peronism and the Remaking of San Juan After the 1944 Earthquake (Duke, 2011; translation Siglo XXI Argentina, 2012). He has taught at New York University, the University of Mississippi, and UC Berkeley and currently teaches at the University of Connecticut.

Amy Chazkel is Associate Professor of History at Queens College of the City University of New York and the CUNY Graduate Center. A specialist in modern (nineteenth- and twentieth-century) Brazil, she teaches courses in various fields that include Latin American history, urban history, law and society in Latin America, historical methodology, and comparative slavery. She is the author of Laws of Chance: Brazil's Clandestine Lottery and the Making of Modern Public Life in Brazil (Duke University Press, 2011). Other recent publications include articles on the history of penal institutions, police museums, and illicit gambling in modern Brazil, and a co-edited double issue of the Radical History Review that explores the privatization of common property in global perspective.

Mauricio Font is director of the Bildner Center for Western Hemisphere Studies and professor of sociology at The Graduate Center and Queens College, City University of New York. His research examines problems of development and reform in Brazil, Cuba and Latin America as well as international cooperation in the Western Hemisphere.