The 1948 Flooding of Vanport, Oregon: Legacies of Disaster and Displacement

Mar 02, 2023  | 6pm ET

Lecture at GHI Washington | Speaker: Uwe Lübken (Ludwig Maximilians Universität München)

2023 Spring Lecture Series: Moving Out of Harm’s Way: Contemporary and Historical Perspectives on Climate-related Mobilities

Please join us for the first lecture in our Spring 2023 series "Moving Out of Harm’s Way: Contemporary and Historical Perspectives on Climate-related Mobilities."

About the Lecture Series


Moving Out of Harm’s Way: Contemporary and Historical Perspectives on Climate-related Mobilities

“Climate-related migration,” “disaster mobility,” and “climate refugees” have become salient topics in the last decade in both the political and scholarly realms. Most of the discourse looks to the future, with mass migrations expected in the wake of ever more severe climate change. These climate mobilities tend to be regarded as a novel phenomenon. Yet, they are not new: Although the scope of these mobilities has never been larger, environmental factors and disasters have played a role in the movement of people throughout history.

This lecture series explores this relation between human mobility and climate change and disaster from the early modern period to our own time. It charts various ways in which people in the Middle East, North America, and Asia have grappled with the need to move out of harm’s way, whether that harm was a sudden flood or a slow drought leading to famine. Sometimes, these people may only have had to relocate by several miles, while other times they had to traverse continents, but in their mobility, both they and the environments they came to inhabit (either permanently or in transit) were transformed. The lectures examine a wide range of mobilities that climate change and disaster have provoked and the economic, social, and cultural developments they sparked. They also draw attention to the immobilities caused by choice or specific mobility regimes, as well as their interactions with the mobilities of others. With the help of some historical perspectives and contemporary considerations, the lecture series aims to explore new ways of thinking about climate-related mobilities today and in the future. 

Organized by Patricia C. Sutcliffe and Nino Vallen


The 1948 Flooding of Vanport, Oregon: Legacies of Disaster and Displacement March 2, 2023 | GHI Washington
Uwe Lübken (Professor of American Cultural Studies, Ludwig Maximilians Universität München)

Putting Contemporary Climate Migration in Context: What Do We Know from Two Decades of Research? April 6, 2023 | 223 Moses Hall, UC Berkeley
Amanda Carrico (Associate Professor of Environmental Studies, University of Colorado Boulder)

"Little Ice Age" Disasters and Migration: Insights for (and from) Global Warming April 13, 2023 | GHI Washington
Sam White (Professor of Political History, University of Helsinki)

Climate Displacement in the Shadow of War: Feminist Refugee Perspectives on Hydro-disaster May 4, 2023 | Pacific Office, Berkeley
Heidi-Amin-Hong (Assistant Professor of English, U California, Santa Barbara)