Anthony Carrigan: Compound Disaster, Uneven Recovery

Dr Anthony Carrigan will be delivering one of our three keynote lectures during the conference. Dr Carrigan is a Lecturer in Postcolonial Literatures and Cultures at the University of Leeds, where he specialises in postcolonialism, environmentalism and economics.

His monograph Postcolonial Tourism: Literature, Culture, and Environment was published by Routledge in 2011. His current project, ‘Representing Postcolonial Disaster: Conflict, Consumption, Reconstruction’, approaches concepts in mainstream disaster studies through a postcolonial lens.

Anthony’s keynote at the conference will be titled Compound Disaster, Uneven Recovery: Reading the Catastrophic Legacies of 1970–71 in Bangladesh. His abstract is below.

Despite contributing to the nation’s status as disaster icon, the events surrounding one of the twentieth century’s worst environmental catastrophes, the Bhola Cyclone, and the subsequent bloody liberation war have received sparse treatment from postcolonial researchers.

In this presentation I will consider the socio-ecological and generic implications of reading across a number of reflective works produced in the last decade or so by writers and filmmakers such as Tahmima Anam, Manzu Islam, Sorayya Khan, and Tareque Masud. These depict 1970–71’s catastrophic events as being environmentally embedded yet operating across borders through diaspora, socio-cultural and bioregional affiliations, and multidirectional memory, and through globalised circuits of production and consumption.

They also raise a series of critical questions that are at the heart of this conference’s interests: the status of East Pakistan/Bangladesh as ‘resource periphery’; the transformations and foreclosures that accompany mass resistance; tensions between independence and interdependence; contested relations between disaster mitigation, development, and vulnerability reduction; and the power of historical and aesthetic texts to help us think through long-term and deeply uneven processes of recovery.

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