Travis J Sands
B CUSP 115
Addresses an important social issue through an interdisciplinary perspective, continues to build creative and critical skills, and focuses on the relationship between the individual and society. Offered: W.
Unnatural Disasters: Representing Crisis and Catastrophe in the Americas
Philosopher Walter Benjamin writes, "the tradition of the oppressed teaches us that the 'state of emergency' in which we live is not the exception but the rule." By this he means that crises are not aberrations that governments must develop special practices to address, but rather central components of strategies of control. Working from Benjamin's frame, this course will address three recent crises: the events of September 11, 2001, Hurricane Katrina of 2005, and the Haitian earthquake of 2010. We will think about how both governments and survivors have represented the causes and effects of these disasters, paying careful attention to how these representations mark transformations in understandings of race, class, citizenship, and governance.
Student learning goals
General method of instruction
Class assignments and grading