The Age of Catastrophe: Disaster and Humanity in Modern Times

Overview

Disasters, both natural and man-made, are on the rise. Indeed, a catastrophe of one sort or another seems always to be unfolding somewhere on the planet. We have entered into a veritable Age of Catastrophes which have grown both larger and more complex and now routinely very widespread in scope. The old days of the geographically isolated industrial accidents, of the sinking of a Titanic or the explosion of a Hindenburg, together with their isolated causes and limited effects, are over. Now, disasters on the ...

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Overview

Disasters, both natural and man-made, are on the rise. Indeed, a catastrophe of one sort or another seems always to be unfolding somewhere on the planet. We have entered into a veritable Age of Catastrophes which have grown both larger and more complex and now routinely very widespread in scope. The old days of the geographically isolated industrial accidents, of the sinking of a Titanic or the explosion of a Hindenburg, together with their isolated causes and limited effects, are over. Now, disasters on the scale of Hurricane Katrina, the BP oil spill or the Japan tsunami and nuclear reactor accident, threaten to engulf large swaths of civilization.

This book analyzes the efforts of Westerners to keep the catastrophes outside, while maintaining order on the inside of society. These efforts are breaking down. Nature and Civilization have become so intertwined they can no longer be separated. Natural disasters, moreover, are becoming increasingly more difficult to differentiate from "man-made."

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780786471423
  • Publisher: McFarland & Company, Incorporated Publishers
  • Publication date: 8/30/2012
  • Pages: 234
  • Sales rank: 997,977
  • Product dimensions: 8.80 (w) x 5.90 (h) x 0.30 (d)

Meet the Author

John David Ebert is the author of four previous books and has published essays in such periodicals as the Antioch Review, Utne Reader, Parabola, and Whole Earth. He has also been a featured scholar on A&E's Ancient Mysteries.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments v

Introduction: The End of Natural Disasters 1

A Brief Note on Civilization's Loss of Command Over its Environment 11

Part I Disasters of Paleomodernity 17

One The Sinking of the Titanic and the Fate of the Mobile City 20

Two On the Hindenburg Disaster and the Technologization of the Soul's Descent to Earth 28

Part II Disasters of Neomodernity 37

Three The Plane Crash at Tenerife: What it Unconceals 40

Four The Disaster at Bhopal and the Collision of the Biosphere with the Chemosphere 50

Five Being-Outside-the-World: Thoughts on the Space Shuttle Disasters 61

Six Back from History: Some Implications Regarding the Accident at Chernobyl 72

Seven The Amsterdam Cargo Plane Crash and the Derailment at Eschede: Parallel Accidents 85

Eight The Aum Shinrikyo Nerve Gas Attacks as an Attempt to Recode Japanese Society 97

Nine The Columbine Shootings and the Absence of Meaning 109

Part III Planetary Scale Disasters 125

Ten On the September 11 Terrorist Attacks 129

Eleven Hurricane Katrina and the Flooding of New Orleans 139

Twelve Sichuan, 2008: The First Man-Made Earthquake 150

Thirteen A Satellite Collision in the Exosphere: Some Ontological Consequences 161

Fourteen Tiny Blue Globe: Reflections on the BP Oil Spill 168

Fifteen On the 2011 Tohoku Earthquake, Tsunami and Fukushima Meltdown 177

Postscript: Global Accident 185

Appendix: A Disaster Timeline 191

Chapter Notes 197

Bibliography 207

Index 213

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