University of Rochester

From Burned Over to Rusted Out: Disaster and Recovery(?)

The Fifth Annual Graduate Conference
Hosted by the Graduate History Society at the University of Rochester

Saturday, February 22, 2014


2014 Conference Registration Form.

Call for Papers

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.


Abstracts Due: 30 October 2013

Please submit an abstract of proposals of no more than 250 words online.  Direct any questions to

Accommodations and Parking

Hotel: Conference participants and attendees who need accommodations should contact the Staybridge Suites located at 1000 Genesee Street, Rochester, NY 14611. (585) 527-9110. The Staybridge is located on the opposite side of the Genessee River from the campus and there is a footbridge which allows for easy access to the University. Participants will receive an email concerning accommodations. Some housing may be available with graduate students.

Parking: Parking is free on the University of Rochester the day of the conference. The closest parking lots are the Trustee Lot and the Intercampus Drive Lot. Do not park in a reserved space at any time. Please see the map for more information: Click here for a map.

All events will be held in Goergen Hall on the University of Rochester River Campus.