Politics, Societies, and Disasters: China and Beyond

On 28 June, the Fudan Centre hosted a one-day international conference on disaster management in China - and beyond. The conference was organized in collaboration with Bin Xu, Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology at Emory University.

The conference was the first major academic event that focused on the interdisciplinary and comparative study of disasters in China and other countries. Participants engaged in an interdisciplinary study of the social and political aspects of disasters in China, comparing them to disasters in Japan, Taiwan, and Europe in order to develop a comparative perspective and a theoretical framework that can provide analytical leverage for explaining particular disasters in each context.

In bringing together a group of scholars with various regional expertises and knowledge of disasters, we hoped to facilitate serious and constructive dialogues across regional boundaries. The societies we compared constitute a reasonably differential range of political contexts and social contexts: Taiwan shares with China a similar cultural context but different political context; Japan, the US, and Denmark constitute a group of contexts with differences in both political and cultural contexts. Another aspect of advancing our knowledge of disasters is to examine it from multiple disciplinary perspectives so that we can have more comprehensive views beyond the limit of a single discipline.

The conference was sponsored by the American Council of Learned Societies, the Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation for International Scholarly Exchange, the Nordic Institute of Asian Studies, and the Fudan-European Centre for China Studies.