Remember Kinglake: reframing 'natural disaster' in the Anthropocene

Rigby, K (2014) Remember Kinglake: reframing 'natural disaster' in the Anthropocene. In: Cultural Responses to Environmental Disasters in Australia, 19 September 2014, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark.

Official URL:


This paper addresses the role of cultural assumptions, values, and narratives in the interpretation of those geo-physical extreme events that have become known in modernity as “natural disasters”. The de-naturalisation of “natural disaster”, I argue, has become imperative in order to better understand and respond to the complex entanglement of human and non-human agencies and processes in the aetiology, unfolding and aftermath of such calamities in the era of the Anthropocene, when human activities are so profoundly transforming Earth’s atmosphere, oceans, soils, and ecosystems on a global scale. Focussing on the framing of weather-borne disasters in Australia, I will consider the way in which certain non- and pre-modern interpretations of geo-physical extremes as indicative of human wrong-doing are being recalled in the medium of contemporary literature to challenge the modern secular paradigm of ‘natural disaster’: specifically, Aboriginal Rainbow Serpent narratives in Alexis Wright’s Carpentaria and biblical narratives in Jordie Albiston’s “Kinglake Undone”

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > G Geography (General)
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GB Physical geography
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GF Human ecology. Anthropogeography
Q Science > Q Science (General)
Divisions: School of Writing, Publishing and the Humanities
Date Deposited: 22 Jun 2016 13:30
Last Modified: 15 Aug 2021 09:42
URI / Page ID:
Request a change to this item or report an issue Request a change to this item or report an issue
Update item (repository staff only) Update item (repository staff only)