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PCA Dust Bowl

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Robert Ficociello

on 16 September 2013

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Transcript of PCA Dust Bowl

Let the Dust Settle: The (Never-ending) “Dust Bowl” Disaster
--Robert Ficociello, U of Nebraska Kearney

Disaster Event
does not =

Disaster Narrative
Per Wikipedia:
"Older articles tend to be more comprehensive and balanced; newer articles may contain misinformation, unencyclopedic content, or vandalism. Awareness of this helps the reader to obtain valid information and avoid recently added misinformation."
And:
"We strive for articles that document and explain the major points of view in a balanced and impartial manner. We avoid advocacy and we characterize information and issues rather than debate them.
In some areas there may be just one well-recognized point of view
; in others, we describe multiple points of view, presenting each accurately and in context rather than as 'the truth' or 'the best view'. All articles must strive for verifiable accuracy, citing reliable, authoritative sources, especially when the topic is controversial or a living person. Editors' personal experiences, interpretations, or opinions do not belong."
According to USA Today’s interview with Burns: “The bedrock of any of his films, The Civil War to Baseball, says Burns, is ‘emotional archeology. ... We weren't just interested in excavating dry dates and facts and events, but looking for some higher emotional glue that would make all those date and times and events stick together and coalesce.’”
And: "Like any other boom-and-bust tale, the Dust Bowl is a complicated one, about human nature and mother nature colliding. 'It's at its root a story of hubris and the inevitable greed,' says Burns."
Oxford American:
"In the wake of last summer’s drought and this fall’s Superstorm Sandy, Ken Burns’s harrowingly absorbing new two-part, four-hour documentary, The Dust Bowl, feels particularly urgent.”
Burns:
“Human nature remains the same and that we tend to make the same mistakes over and over again, and to engage in active history, it might help to have the future.”
Hayden White views narrative as “far from being one code among many that a culture may utilize for endowing experience [a disaster event] with meaning, narrative is a meta-code, a human universal on the basis of which transcultural messages about the nature of a shared reality can be transmitted."
Burns: “One thing you learn after awhile in this history business is you think that the past is really far away, and in many cases it is…But memory, the thing that recalls the past, is present.”
Hayden White, The Content of Form, “What would a nonnarrative representation of historical reality look like? In answering this question, we …begin to catch a glimpse of the basis for the appeal of narrativity as a form for the representation of events construed to be real rather than imaginary.”
The NY Times Sunday Book Review:
The Anti-Joads
TIMOTHY EGAN'S new book, "The Worst Hard Time," takes the shape of a
classic disaster tale
. We meet the central characters (the "nesters" who farmed around the Oklahoma and Texas panhandles); dire warnings (against plowing) are voiced but ignored; and then all hell breaks loose. Ten-thousand-foot-high dust storms whip across the landscape, choking people and animals, and eventually laying waste to one of the richest ecosystems on earth.
"
My disaster event
” = “
My disaster narrative
"
Disaster Narrative
[s]
does not/does =
Disaster Event
?
Hayden White views narrative as “far from being one code among many that a culture may utilize for endowing experience
[a disaster event]
with meaning, narrative is a meta-code, a human universal on the basis of which transcultural messages about the nature of a shared reality can be transmitted."
LA Times: “A named storm should be a hurricane, and only a hurricane" George Wright, a meteorologist and the founder of Wright Weather Consulting in New York, said in an interview with The Times. “A hurricane is something that’s more unusual and devastating. If you start naming other storms, people will suddenly think this might be a hurricane.”
Oxford American:
“In subsequent decades, plains farmers started irrigating, sucking up the shallow water table of the Ogallala Aquifer. Problem solved? Not for long. That 174,000-square-mile source provides not just about a third of the nation’s irrigation water but also drinking water for eighty-two percent of the population within its eight-state boundaries. Specialists expect the aquifer, which took millions of years to accumulate, to be gone within twenty years. Last summer saw the worst Midwestern drought in half a century, and experts fear it could be a harbinger of times to come—
a Dust Bowl redux.
"
Virilio:
"[In the 20th century] serial production of the most diverse catastrophes has dogged the great discoveries and the great technological inventions like a shadow, and, unless we accept the unacceptable, meaning allow the accident in turn to become automatic"
Virilio:
"[It] would seem only logical that the 21st century reap the harvest of this hidden production constituted by the most diverse disasters, to the very extent that their repetition has become a clearly recognized historical phenomenon."
Full transcript