Shrinking, Sinking, Resurfacing: Small Islands and Natural Hazards in Historical and Current Perspectives (22-24 November 2012)

Workshop at the Rachel Carson Center, Ludwig Maximilian University, Munich.

“Small islands have largely been ignored by mainstream historical research. Why, after all, should scholars be interested in the past of seemingly unimportant patches of land, especially if they are located at the “edge of the world”? If they are treated at all, they are portrayed as either a place of desire (i.e., a mythical and, very often, tropical paradise), or as the exact opposite: the epitome of a nearly impossible life, a place where “civilizations” must, almost necessarily, collapse due to the isolation, the limited resource base, and, last but not least, the frequent exposure to natural hazards. Ironically, the latter point has triggered a new interest in small islands. In a world with a warming climate, rising sea levels, and the likelihood of increasing extreme natural events, these peculiar places have turned into pioneer communities at the forefront of global environmental change… Yet, while isolation and the prevalence of natural hazards certainly describe important elements of life on small islands, the focus on vulnerability neglects the fact that small island communities have thrived for centuries, often dealing with these challenges successfully.

This workshop aims to look at the complex problem that natural hazards have posed—and still pose—on small islands in a more nuanced way…” [view the workshop program].

This entry was posted in Events and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.