Professor Virginia García Acosta

Speech Summary

The study of risks and disasters, especially those associated with natural hazards, has powerfully attracted the attention of social scientists from different disciplines for more than a century. Anthropology and History have become major contributors to the understanding that what has increased over time is not the presence of natural phenomena, but the presence of growing risks and vulnerabilities, which we call the social construction of risks.

This conference will address, from the starting point that disasters are processes, how research, based on ethnography and historical documentation coming from a wider global south, can help to understand how society generates contexts that are vulnerable to such a degree that the context itself becomes a hazard and, consequently a factor of risk generation. Some of the main theoretical and methodological paths developed up to now will be addressed. The general idea is to discuss that progress to date shows that interdisciplinary and comparative dialogue has been instrumental in the progress made and needs to be continued.

Brief CV

Professor Virginia Garcia Acosta is a Mexican Social Anthropologist and Historian. 

Background: Professor-Researcher at CIESAS (Center for Research and Higher Studies in Social Anthropology, Mexico) since 1973. Full member of the Mexican Academy of History (chair number 5), of the Mexican Academy of Sciences and Emeritus Researcher of the National System of Researchers. She was CIESAS General Director from 2004 to 2014 and its Academic Director from 1997 to 2000.

Areas of expertise: 1) Anthropology and History of risk and disasters in Mexico and Latin America. 2) Comparative studies on climate and society on both sides of the Atlantic 3) Anthropocene and Climate Change: Historical and Anthropological Perspectives Anthropology & History: Theories and Methodologies.

Publications: as an individual or coordinating author she has published 30 books and more than a hundred articles or book chapters in Mexico and abroad. Some of her main books are: a) three volumes of  Historia y Desastres en América Latina (History & Disasters in Latin America), 1996, 1997, 2008; b) two volumes of  Los sismos en la historia de México (Earthquakes in Mexican History), 1996, 2001, with G. Suárez; c) Desastres agrícolas en México (Agricultural Disasters in Mexico)2003, with, JM. Pérez Zevallos & A. Molina; d) Les catastrophes et l´interdisciplinarité (Disasters and Interdisciplinarity), 2017, with A. Musset; e) The Anthropology of Disasters in Latin America. State of the Art, Routledge, 2020 (translated to Spanish and published in 2021).