Katharina Gerstenberger, Professor of German and Chair, University of Utah
Her project, tentatively titled “Disaster Narratives: History and Catastrophe in the German Imagination”, is a book-length study of German and Austrian disaster texts from the late 19th century to the present. The selected texts explore particular historical moments by telling stories of disasters and, frequently, use these incidents to call into question the nation’s or the community’s assumptions about itself. Of particular interest to the Environmental Humanities will be the sections on natural disasters, which include texts on the 1883 Krakatau eruption and the 2004 tsunami, as well as those on the 1986 Chernobyl disaster. My main interest is the cultural aspects contained in disaster narratives and the implications for individual and society suggested by the authors.