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Jordan Pasco on Disasters and Social Change

Event Type
Asian American Studies Department
Levis Faculty Center, Room 210 919 W. Illinois St., Urbana
Sep 17, 2024   3:00 pm  
Originating Calendar
Asian American Studies

As Covid-19 case numbers ticked up, George Floyd was killed by police. Masked protesters burst onto the streets of Minneapolis, then spread to New York City, to Portland, to the world entire. Later, disinformation flourished about a stolen election, culminating in thousands storming the U.S. Capitol. 600,000 Americans dead; the largest protest mobilization in U.S. history; an attempted insurrection.  Is it coincidence that this all happened in less than a year?

Beyond their physical impact, disasters assault our certainty and shape a narrow space to alter the structure of what we believe. That change can lead us toward disinformation and authoritarianism, or it can lead us toward greater solidarity and human rights. It all depends on the choices we make as we live through crisis; on how, in fact, we choose to know each other.

In this talk, Jordan Pascoe draws on the resources of feminist philosophy to explore how disasters trigger social change – in both progressive and authoritarian ways. By examining how people learn from one another in disaster contexts, and how this learning can shift longstanding practices of collective knowing, she explores how and why disasters generate social change, and how disaster policy can shape that social change. 

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