Professor Kathryn Temple was invited to Flinders University in Adelaide, S. Australia as a guest lecturer. Her abstract for the lecture today, Wednesday, September 21st (read more below) is on the Lisbon Earthquake of 1755.
Best of luck, Kathy!
Title: The Lisbon Earthquake, 1755: Epicenter for the Culture of Survival
Abstract: As Judith Butler has said, “to be human is to be vulnerable.” Our culture deals with humanity’s extreme vulnerability mostly through a messy combination of catastrophizing and denial, idealizing a form of subjectivity focused on “survival” and the “survivor.” In this paper on the Lisbon earthquake and tsunami of 1755, the first arguably global natural disaster, Temple investigates the origins of this form of subjectivity, arguing that it has its roots first in the collapse of boundaries that the disaster enacted, but more largely in globalization, in the rapid growth of print culture with its elaborated distribution channels, in secularization, and in a new understanding of time and the value of memory, all phenomena that originated in the discursive work that the Lisbon earthquake and tsunami generated throughout the Western world.