Confronting Precarious Futures: Multidisciplinary Re-constructions of the Yolanda Disaster

Dr Marie Rose Arong1, Ms Kaira Zoe Alburo-Canete2, Mr. Wendyl Luna2, Dr. Daniel Hempel2

1University Of The Philippines Cebu, , Philippines, 2University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia

Chair: Dr Marie Rose Arong


Since the beginning of the 21st Century, disasters in Asia have increasingly gained international attention. Situated in an increasingly complex terrain where issues of climate change, urbanization, and rising inequalities are imbricated, Asia continues to face threats and insecurities of current and future disasters. The Philippines, in particular, has been highlighted as one of the most ‘disaster-prone’ areas in the world and has been subject to interventions intended to make the country and its people more prepared to tackle their ‘precarious futures’ especially in the context of climate change. Using the case of typhoon Yolanda, dubbed the most powerful storm to have ever made landfall in history which devastated the Philippines in 2013, this panel presents diverse perspectives on how disasters are constructed and critically engage with narratives that continue to animate and form visions of confronting precarious futures in the Philippines and, more broadly, in Asia.  Drawing on a range of analytical standpoints and theoretical resources– philosophy, political science, feminism, and literature – the panel aims to ‘re-construct’ our understanding of the Yolanda disaster, highlight competing narratives of what it means to be built back ‘better’, and provoke a critical reimagining of disasters beyond the event itself.


The Asian Studies Association of Australia (ASAA) is the peak body of university experts and educators on Asia in Australia. Established in 1976, we promote and support the study of Asia in Australian universities and knowledge of Asia among the broader community. Our membership is drawn mainly from academics and students, but also includes industry and government Asia experts. We take a strong interest in promoting knowledge about Asia in schools and in contributing to state and Commonwealth government policies related to Asia. We provide informed comment on Asia to a broad public through our bulletin, Asian Currents, and specialist research articles in our journal, Asian Studies Review. Four book series published under our auspices cover Southeast Asia, South Asia, East Asia and Women in Asia.

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