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Disaster Writing

The Cultural Politics of Catastrophe in Latin America
Mark D. Anderson

BUY Cloth · 256 pp. · 6 × 9 · ISBN 9780813931968 · $55.00 · Oct 2011
BUY Paper · 256 pp. · 6 × 9 · ISBN 9780813931975 · $25.00 · Oct 2011
BUY Ebook · 256 pp. · ISBN 9780813932033 · $25.00 · Oct 2011

In the aftermath of disaster, literary and other cultural representations of the event can play a role in the renegotiation of political power. In Disaster Writing, Mark D. Anderson analyzes four natural disasters in Latin America that acquired national significance and symbolism through literary mediation: the 1930 cyclone in the Dominican Republic, volcanic eruptions in Central America, the 1985 earthquake in Mexico City, and recurring drought in northeastern Brazil.

Taking a comparative and interdisciplinary approach to the disaster narratives, Anderson explores concepts such as the social construction of risk, landscape as political and cultural geography, vulnerability as the convergence of natural hazard and social marginalization, and the cultural mediation of trauma and loss. He shows how the political and historical contexts suggest a systematic link between natural disaster and cultural politics.


A highly intelligent and quite fascinating study of the way in which natural disaster has been handled in a specific range of Latin American writing. Well researched, documented, and organized, and superbly written.

David William Foster, Arizona State University

"Beyond the comparative analysis, this is an important resource for readers interested in the interconnections of textual/cultural production and sociopolitical action in times of national catastrophe, particularly in Latin America."


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