The Ph.D. Program in History

at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York


02-22 Fifth Annual University of Rochester Graduate Conference- From Burned Over to Rusted Out: Disaster and Recovery

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Hosted by the graduate students of the Department of History at the University of Rochester.


Fifth Annual University of Rochester Graduate Conference

“From Burned Over to Rusted Out: Disaster and Recovery”

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Located in the center of religious fervor during the Great Awakening and in the industrial heartland’s “rust belt,” the University of Rochester’s location embodies the theme of this year’s conference. We hope to interrogate the progressive narrative of successful recovery after disaster, to redefine in a historical context the many different kinds of disaster and its causes – natural or man made – and to explore how these themes affect place and space.
Our intent is to capture the stories and theories of disaster and recovery, broadly defined, as they apply not only to this region, but to all places, eras, and types of history. Our call includes, but is not limited to, topics in ancient history, medieval, the Atlantic world, European, American, women and gender studies, African-American studies and subaltern groups. Proposals from interdisciplinary fields are also encouraged.
We welcome papers addressing the topic from all disciplines and especially invite those that deal with disaster and recovery in an environmental setting; economic disaster and recovery; biographies of groups or individuals that confront disaster and recovery; regional studies that look at the rise and fall of political groups, economic theories and power structures; the role disaster and recovery play in political narratives; and papers that focus on the disaster and, hopeful, recovery of the humanities.
Questions for consideration include: Does recovery always follow disaster? Is there a progressive narrative that histories of disaster often take? How have human societies recovered and reconstructed their lived environments throughout history? How do responses to disaster and recovery vary across international boundaries, class lines, gender and ethnicity differences and geographical regions? How do responses to disasters differ across boundaries? How are the responses to large-scale financial, natural, and political disasters different from or similar to small-scale, personal disasters in the form of trauma, psychological distress, professional failure, and loss? How does the scale of a disaster impact its narration and recovery? We hope to have one panel at this year’s conference that deals specifically with New York State and/or the Great Lakes region. We especially encourage proposals that deal with this theme.

Deadline for Submissions: December 9, 2013
Submission Guidelines: Please submit an abstract of proposals of no more than 250 words to
Direct any questions to