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Seminar: Views of the Tragedies of Hurricane Katrina and the Asian Tsunami
Date: 17 March 2010 

American Studies Seminar Series:

God, Nature, and Society: Views of the Tragedies of Hurricane Katrina and the Asian Tsunami

Dr. Janel Curry
Professor of Geography, Calvin College
Fulbright Scholar at City University of Hong Kong

Date: March 17 (Wednesday)
Time: 4.30 pm to 6.00 pm
Venue: JG05, James Hsioung Lee Science Building, HKU

Did God send the Asian Tsunami as punishment against societal sins, or was this the face of evil acting against humanity? The role that religious worldviews play in shaping interpretations of, responses to, and explanations for, hazard events is an understudied area.  In her talk, Dr. Curry will first explore the role of religious worldviews in hazard events through the study of a cross-section of worship service sermons from a variety of Christian traditions in the three weeks after Hurricane Katrina and the three weeks after the Asian Tsunami, before moving onto a discussion of how such religious worldviews shaped individual and institutional responses to the events.  The worldview elements discussed include:

1) views of the natural world;
2) religious perspectives on hope and particularly the perceived
relationship between sin and suffering;
3) views on the role of state;
4) articulated boundaries between those who suffer and others.
Dr. Janel M. Curry is Professor of Geography and holds the Byker Chair in Political, Social, and Economic Thought at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan. She served as Dean for Research and Scholarship from 2000-2009. She has a Ph.D. and M.A. in geography from the University of Minnesota (1985; 1981) and received her B.A. in political science from Bethel University in Minnesota (1977). Prior to coming to Calvin College she taught at Central College in Pella, Iowa. Dr. Curry is the author of numerous book chapters and academic articles. Her most recent book (with Ron Wells), is an edited volume, Faithful Imagination in the Academy (2008).

This event is held as part of the American Studies Seminar Series. For enquiries, please contact Dr. Wing-kai To via email at

Please find below details of upcoming talks in the American Studies Seminar Series:

March 31 (Wednesday), 4:30 pm, M141, Main Building.
Prof. Hedley Freake (University of Connecticut/Fulbright Scholar at Hong Kong Polytechnic University).
Current Food Practices in the USA: Health and Environmental Consequences.

April 8 (Thursday) 4:30 pm, Convocation Room.
Dr. Wing-kai To  (Bridgewater State College/Fulbright Scholar at University of Hong Kong).
Defying Exclusion: The Making of a Chinese American Community in Boston, 1870-1965.
April 22 (Thursday) 4:30 pm, MG07, Main Building.
Dr. Paul Hanstedt (Ranoke College/Fulbright Scholar at Hong Kong Institute of Education).
Reconceptualizing Writing as an Intellectual Act:  Institutional and Pedagogical Implications at the University Level.

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