In this lecture, Dr. Lori Peek discusses sociological theories of disaster and vulnerability. She highlights the variables that characterize vulnerability to the impacts of disasters, and notes that much research on vulnerable populations does not focus on the social systems and power relations that exacerbate risk. She then discusses the pressure and release model to characterize the temporal impacts of disasters. She uses the example of a project on the Gulf Coast that looks at the impacts of oil spills on youth health, and she explains the range of methodological approaches used to measure these impacts. Finally, she discusses how she and collaborators have built on vulnerability research to create curricula for high school students to engage in disaster recovery.
Lori Peek is Associate Professor of Sociology and Co-Director of the Center for Disaster and Risk Analysis at Colorado State University. She is also the co-founder of the SHOREline youth empowerment program and co-director of the Youth Creating Disaster Recovery project. She has published widely on the sociology of disasters and is author of Behind the Backlash: Muslim Americans after 9/11, co-author of Children of Katrina, and co-editor of Displaced: Life in the Katrina Diaspora. Dr. Peek received the Distinguished Book Award from the Midwest Sociological Society in 2012 and the Best Book Award from the American Sociological Association Section on Altruism, Morality, and Social Solidarity in 2013. In 2009, the American Sociological Association Section on Children and Youth honored her with its Early Career Award for Outstanding Scholarship. She has also been named Professor of the Year and has received the Best Teacher Award and the Excellence in Teaching Award from Colorado State University.