The Gendered Dimensions of Natural Disasters

Call for Papers: Annual Meeting of the Association of American Geographers (AAG), Los Angeles, California, April 9-13, 2013

Session Title: The Gendered Dimensions of Natural Disasters

Session Organizer: Christine Eriksen, AUSCCER, University of Wollongong

The aim of this session is to evolve the growing awareness within both academia and emergency services of the gendered nature of disaster risk engagement, response and recovery. Covert and less visible as well as overt gender roles and traditions have been shown to be important factors in understanding how women and men engage with risk. The ‘doing of gender’ in everyday practices, for example, has with time ensured the normalization of hegemonic masculinity in everyday life. Research has furthermore shown how the normalization of patriarchal relations through discursive practices is legitimized through the media, while institutional patriarchal structures resistant to change reinforce them. The applications of shifting scales of analysis have, however, revealed gender relations and gender identities as being socially constructed and ideologically premised. It has highlighted the importance of understanding how boundaries are drawn and redrawn and how gender identities are performed over time. Hegemonic masculinity in many rural landscapes has, for example, been challenged on many fronts since the 1970s due to the demographic and structural changes associated with amenity-led migration from urban centers to rural landscapes. The outcomes of particular discourses (such as communicating in recovery or wildfire management) may furthermore be quite pluralistic as there are manifold ways of acting upon it. It is therefore important to pay greater attention to explicitly gendered social experiences and the construction and performance of gender identities within the context of, for example, risk mitigation, disaster management, and trauma recovery. What, for example, are the implications of embedded gender roles on the vulnerability and resilience of the growing number of people living in wildfire-prone landscapes at the wildland-urban interface today?

This session seeks paper contributions on the gendered dimensions of a wide variety of natural disasters and associated aspect of risk engagement, mitigation, response and recovery.

Please email a 250 word abstract to Christine Eriksen (ceriksen@uow.edu.au) by Friday 12th October 2012. Successful submissions will be confirmed by Wednesday 17th October 2012 and will be expected to register and submit their abstracts online at the AAG website by October 24th 2012 (www.aag.org/cs/annualmeeting). Please note that a range of registration fees will apply and must be paid before the submission of abstracts online.