Foto: Matthias Friel
In this class we will explore the narrative construction of disasters in cultural and literary representation. Traditionally understood as a moment of crisis, disasters do not seem to be extraordinary moments that interrupt normality anymore. Rather, they seemingly constitute a new normal of our ”always precarious normality” (Luhmann vii). Flood and fires alternate with droughts or torrential storm, heat waves with historic deep freezes, and epidemics and pandemics have departed the confines of fictive future biosecurity scenarios. They can no longer be understood as fantasy, as Susan Sontag had framed it in ”The Imagination of Disaster,” nonetheless their narrative construction and form is fundamental for how we imagine and understand disasters, their causes, and their effects, and how they affect people. In this class we will therefore study the narrative tradition of disaster narratives in both fiction and non-fiction to explore what effect the narratives mobilized in different contexts have and why some do not seem to produce the effects they aim for.
3 credit points
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