The idea to develop a list of #scholars who have been contributing to #disaster studies in the last 70 years started during my PhD year at UNU-EHS in Bonn ten years ago. My exchanges with folks doing disaster studies pushed me to believe that many are not aware of the field. Spending about 5 years in Indonesia in disaster management field (2000-2007), I realised that many practitioners have very little ideas about the evolution of the field.
So, I used to raise this idea with RADIX group and provided some early list of some 50 people. The responses were mixed as many believe that the field of disaster studies should be an inclusive interdisciplinary field. True. Since 2005, the field seemed to be regaining its path in the global knowledge system as more and more knowledge has been produced by many beyond the contribution of the early arrivals [See list below].
Disaster Management studies or simply disaster studies is an interdisciplinary branch of science comprising of more than 50 branches of sciences ranging from social science, humanities, environment, psychology, economics, business, technology, actuarial sciences, geology, civil engineering, health and medical sciences, political science, natural sciences etc. Based on some calculation, the field has recently turned 60-70 years. [See David McEntire Ed. 2007. Disciplines, Disasters and Emergency Management : The Convergence and Divergence of Concepts, Issues and Trends From the Research Literature].
To most of students, there is still lack of knowledge of who are the key thinkers in the field. So, since my landing at CDU Australia in 2016 as a Senior Lecture in Emergency and Disaster Management, I started a small project with the students in 2017. The crux of the plan was a peer to peer learning among the students. The good news is 33 students participated in this rather ‘soft coercive’ as it is part of their assignment.
This listing is part of my initiatives to build an initial list with the help of scholars from RADIX in January 2012. This Assignment exposes the students to a list of “Thinkers” in the field of disaster management and disaster studies and risk management scholars in general. There have been about more than a hundred of thinkers in Disaster Studies. When I said, thinkers, it includes disaster theorists, empiricists, scholars and activists.
I argued that there is no disaster risk management policies and actions/practices that are totally independent from theories and concepts. The “DNA code” of disaster policy must be anchored in some theories proposed by theorists and scholars.
In the Unit/Course DEM511 (Emergency and Disaster Management In Context), at Charles Darwin University, Australia, I ask each student to provide video presentation on a particular scholar by addressing the following questions:
Guiding Question for Video Project on disasters thinkers
- Background of the scholar: Where he/she is born? Where and where and when she/he has been studying? Bring her/his background to be a starting point? If there is information on Why she or he studied the field?
- What key publications that he / she has written?What are the unique part of his work that you like? What people said about them based on your online research?How their background influence their work?The time and space where they develop their theories?Who are their students?
- How his or her story or theories can save lives? How it help people and countries to solve disaster and emergency problems?
Suggested methods of research: Desk reviews and Internet based research.
See the example of the work from a student on Mary Douglas.
Table 2. List of Early Arrivals – Disaster Risk Studies [Note – my original list include younger folks – So these list could potentially trigger a debate. But these are an early attempt to build such as list]