How Natural are Natural Disasters?

Why are natural catastrophes now considered almost exclusively social and cultural phenomena, even in a field such as environmental history? Uwe Lübken makes the case for bringing nature back into the history of natural disasters.

Uwe Lübken is professor of American history at Ludwig-Maximilians-University, Munich. He has held teaching and research positions at the universities of Cologne, Munich, Münster and at the German Historical Institute in Washington, DC. His publications include a prize-winning book on the U.S. perception of the National Socialist threat to Latin America and several edited volumes, special issues, and articles on (American) transnational history and the history of natural hazards and catastrophes. He has published a history of flooding of the Ohio River (2014) and co-edited volumes on urban fires (University of Wisconsin Press, 2012), the management of natural resources (Berghahn Books, 2014) and city-river relations (Pittsburgh University Press, 2016). His current work explores the intersections of mobilities and the environment.

This lecture is part of the Gerda Henkel Lecture Series, organized by GHI West, the Pacific Regional Office of the Germany Historical Institute, Washington DC, in cooperation with the Gerda Henkel Foundation. The program brings German historians to the West Coast where they present their research at up to four different universities with the goal to facilitate the general dialogue between German historians and their colleagues in the U.S. and Canadian west. 

The Gerda Henkel Foundation was established in June 1976 by Lisa Maskell in memory of her mother Gerda Henkel as a private, non-profit grant making organization. The Foundation has its headquarters in Düsseldorf. The sole object of the Foundation is to promote science at universities and research institutes, primarily by supporting specific projects in the field of the humanities that have a specialist scope and are limited in time. A special concern of the Foundation is the advancement of postgraduates.

 

Lectures

  • September 25, 2018, 12:30 pm (PST)
    Gerda Henkel Lecture at University of British Columbia, Vancouver (1197 Buchanan Tower)
    Speaker: Uwe Lübken, LMU Munich
  • October 4, 2018, 17 pm (PST)
    Gerda Henkel Lecture at University of Colorado, Boulder
    Speaker: Uwe Lübken, LMU Munich