17th Social Research conference at The New School
Disasters: Recipes and Remedies November 1-2, 2007
John Tishman Auditorium 66 West 12th Street, NYC

Papers from the conference are published in Social Research Volume 74, Number 2 (Summer 2007). https://epay.newschool.edu/C21120_ustores/web/product_detail.jsp?PRODUCTID=5338

This conference is convened at a time at which we are seriously threatened by an increasing number of disasters of all kinds: those conventionally considered "natural," like hurricanes and tsunamis, and those normally considered man-made, like pandemics and large-scale bioterrorist attacks. The need for serious reflection on how we can best think about, prepare for, respond to and prevent disasters is urgent. At this conference, leading experts will explore the commonalities of all disasters. They will examine the unequal protection and treatment of populations made vulnerable by their location and or socioeconomic status; the impact of disasters on the economy and overall human development; how hazards develop into disasters; and how design factors either mitigate or amplify their effects.


Thursday, November 1st, 2007

Session I: Definitions: What We Talk About When We Talk About Disasters

10:30 a.m. - 1:15 p.m.

Scientific Perspectives on Disasters: Physical Sciences: Michael Oppenheimer, Albert G. Milbank Professor of Geosciences and International Affairs; Director, Program in Science, Technology and Environmental Policy, Woodrow Wilson School, Princeton University Scientific Perspectives on Disasters: Biological Science: Eric K. Noji, Chief of Epidemiology, Surveillance, Emergency Response in Office of Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response, CDC; Senior Medical and Public Health advisor, White House Office, Homeland Security Thinking Possibilistically in a Probabilistic World: Lee Clarke, Anschutz Distinguished Fellow, Princeton University; Author, Worst Cases Pre-Conditions of Disasters: John Mutter, Deputy Director/Associate Vice Provost, The Earth Institute, Professor of Earth and Environmental Sciences and International and Public Affairs, Columbia University Discussion Between Speakers, then Discussion with Audience Session Moderator: Jonathan Veitch, Dean, Eugene Lang College The New School for Liberal Arts
1:15 p.m. - 2:15 p.m. BREAK

Session II - Acquiring Vulnerabilities that Potentiate Disasters

2:15 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Reducing Our Vulnerabilities to Natural, Industrial, and Terrorists Disasters: Charles Perrow, Professor Emeritus of Sociology, Yale University Differential Vulnerabilities: Environmental and Economic Inequality: Robert Bullard, Ware Professor of Sociology; Director, Environmental Justice Resource Center, Clark Atlanta University Biological and Health Vulnerabilities: Irwin Redlener, Associate Dean, Public Health Advocacy and Preparedness; Director, National Center for Disaster Preparedness, Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health; President, The Children's Health FundThe Politics of Infrastructure: Joseph W. Westphal, System Professor, Professor of Political Science, University of Maine; Former Head, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Discussion Between Speakers, then Discussion with Audience Session Moderator: Ronald Kassimir, Associate Provost, Associate Professor of Political Science, The New School for Social Research
5:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m BREAK

Session III - Keynote Address

6:00 p.m. - 7:15 p.m.
by Nicholas Scoppetta, New York City Fire Commissioner, followed by Q & A with Bob Kerrey, President of The New School.

Friday, November 2nd, 2007

Session IV - What "Really" Happens When Disasters Happen

10:00 a.m. - 12:45 p.m.

Preparations and Responses The Calculus of Risk vs. Preparedness: Erwann Michel-Kerjan, Managing Director, Risk Management and Decision Processes Center, Wharton School of Business, University of Pennsylvania; Overcoming Denial to Increase Rational Preparation and Response to Danger: Elliot Aronson, Professor Emeritus, Department of Psychology, University of California at Santa Cruz; Author, The Social Animal and Mistakes Were Made (But Not By Me) Conventional Beliefs and Counterintuitive Realities: Enrico L. Quarantelli, Founding Director, Disaster Research Center; Professor Emeritus, Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice, University of Delaware The Role of Insurance Companies: Howard Kunreuther, Cecilia Yen Koo Professor; Professor of Decision Sciences and Business and Public Policy Co-Director, Risk Management and Decision Processes Center, The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania Discussion Between Speakers, then Discussion with Audience Session Moderator: Joel Towers, Director, Sustainable Design and Urban Ecology, Parsons the New School for Design
12:45 p.m. - 1:45 p.m. BREAK

Session V - The Impact of Disasters on Human Development

1:45 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.

"Global Disaster Impacts: Implications and Policy Responses, Patterns and Trends, Role of Climate Change, and Means to Reduce Disaster Risks: Reid Basher, Coordinator, Policy, United Nations Strategy for Disaster Reduction Disasters by Design: Blaming Nature for Political Failures - Michael A. Cohen, Director, Graduate Program in International Affairs, The New School for General Studies Impact on the Formal and Informal Economies - Dean Yang, Assistant Professor of Public Policy, Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy and Assistant Professor of Economics, University of Michigan Impact on Infrastructure - William Morrish, Elwood R. Quesada Professor of Architecture, Landscape Architecture and Urban and Environmental Planning, School of Architecture, University of Virginia Impact on Health - Robert Ursano, Professor, Chair of Psychiatry, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Bethesda, Maryland ">Discussion Between Speakers, then Discussion with Audience
Session Moderator: Lee Clarke, Anschutz Distinguished Fellow, Princeton University; Author, Worst Cases

Eugene Lang College Student Panel on Disasters
5:00 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.
66 West 12th Street, Room A404
Students will present research on disasters and public perspectives. This additional, free event is made possible with collaboration from professors in the Eugene Lang College, The New School for Liberal Arts. Small reception to follow.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art is hosting a special, customized tour of artistic representations of disasters from the museum's collection.


The director and founder (1988) of the Social Research conference series is Arien Mack, Alfred and Monette Marrow Professor of Psychology at The New School for Social Research, who has been the editor of Social Research since 1970. For the history of the conference series, visit the Social Research conference series site. For information about other public events at The New School, see the university calendar. Find information about the more than 70 degree programs offered at The New School. For general information about The New School, visit the Quick Facts page.


This conference is supported by Parsons The New School for Design, Eugene Lang College The New School for Liberal Arts, The School for Social Research and The New School Office of the Provost, and is also cosponsored by the A

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