Texas A&M International University
Department of Social Sciences
5201 University Boulevard
Laredo, Texas 78041-1920
Specializing in community memory and disaster studies, Jaclyn Lee Jeffrey researches, consults, and publishes on coping strategies for communities in crisis. Her first disaster research project was on the 1953 tornado in her hometown of Waco, Texas. Now her work has taken her throughout the U.S. and Mexico, from floods in North Dakota to hurricanes in Florida to communities displaced by development and unrest in Chiapas.
Whenever disaster threatened the Seneca Indians, those members of the tribe who had survived previous disasters would don masks and dance around the village chanting, "It might happen, it might happen," in an elaborate curative ritual. In one form or another, every society finds a way to cope with the fear and devastation of disaster. In this presentation, we will look how at our communities cope and compare that with how societies have survived catastrophe in other places and times.
The place where each of us lives becomes the staging area for our relationships and our life experiences. We tend to grow attached to it in both material and spiritual ways. But place can be lost through change of location, so frequent in our mobile society, or, increasingly, through change of circumstance, in which our landscapes are severely altered by growth and development. In this presentation, we look at the importance of place attachment and the impact of its loss on communities in this country and around the world.