Disasters: Your Turn

For next class, you (the students) get to choose the readings. Sort of.

As part of your preparation for your final project, find one scholarly article (not a news article) that relates to the disaster that you plan to “design” in your final paper. Write a brief (5 sentence) description of why you’re thinking of using it; what new insight it might hold for the purposes of our class; and, one or two discussion questions for the class based on the article. Post your brief essay, full bibliographic information for your article, and a stable link to your article as a comment. Make sure you post a STABLE URL–this is not the same thing as the URL that you can copy out of your browser’s location bar. It will be listed on the webpage itself, usually at the very top or very bottom.

When you search for your articles, make sure that you are using the “Advanced Search” page interface of JSTOR (or any other database) in order to get the best, most relevant results. If you have questions about how to get good search results, ask the staff at Galvin either in person or remotely. They will be happy to help walk you through using the databases to best effect.

Upload no later than October 28th at 5pm. I will choose a set of 2-3 articles that go together well and post them on Blackboard for the class to read. Come to class ready to discuss the articles and what you’ve chosen for your final paper topic.


  1. My article:
    Reese, L. A. (2006). Economic versus natural disasters: If Detroit had a hurricane… Economic Development Quarterly, 20(3), 219-231. DOI: 10.1177/0891242406289344

    Stable link: http://edq.sagepub.com.ezproxy.gl.iit.edu/cgi/content/long/20/3/219

    This article describes how government and the general public’s response to natural disasters may also work well for economic disasters, such as what had been going on in Detroit in 2006, by discussing what occurred in the city of East Grand Forks, MN after it experienced catastrophic flooding. I plan on creating a disaster which addresses the economic problems Chicago is facing, such as the pension crisis and high unemployment and poverty in certain parts of the city, so this article helps me explain the reasoning for creating a natural disaster to help fix the problem, if I do choose to go with that. The most striking insight from the article was that natural disasters really can help catalyze action to rebuild a city and its economy and finances, which I had initially thought to be a callous idea after reading the editorial “In Chicago, wishing for a Hurricane Katrina” in the Chicago Tribune last year (the title and article were later edited after significant backlash).

    Two discussion questions (with some preface):

    1. The disasters we have talked about in class are all manmade in some form. After reading the article, do you believe that natural disasters could allow for the same root causes to be addressed which manmade disasters do? Use specific disasters we’ve talked about in the past and findings from the article to support your argument.

    2. When the general public looks at natural disasters, they are often seen as an “act of God”. However, there were natural disasters long before human activity and life on Earth has held up. Can a “natural” disaster be considered manmade? How does thinking about natural disasters in that way shape our understanding of the root causes of them?

  2. As of now, the Midwest’s largest financial driver, agriculture, is suffering. For my final project, I would like to study how a significant financial disaster can potentially boost the US’ agricultural economy. For the purposes of the project, I have selected the cited academic journal which explores how worldwide financial crises have affected the American agricultural industry in terms of trading and exports. The study concludes that financial disasters lead to an increase in the agricultural economy of the respective country, but decrease the amount of trading between said country and others. Therefore the study will aid in predicting the aftereffects that my designed disaster will have on agriculture.

    Kehoe, Timothy J. “The International Financial Crisis: Macroeconomic Linkages to Agriculture: Discussion.” American Journal of Agricultural Economics, vol. 82, no. 3, 2000, pp. 703–706. http://www.jstor.org/stable/1244628

  3. Paper Topic: U.S. Government information security/hacking
    Article Title: “Good Enough” Security: The Best We’ll Ever Have
    Source: IEEE, 04 July 2016

    I am looking to use this article to provide a bit of background/general information regarding information security. References to this publication can be used near the beginning of the essay to set up what the problems are in information security. The article suggests that human error “far too often” becomes the reason that systems are hacked into. It goes on briefly discuss.mention the Sony hack as well as the Office of Personnel Management hack in late 2013. The writer mentions some examples of how new encryption techniques are being used (such as the end-to-end encryption seen in a number of social media systems) and what ethical problems these may raise. The article ends with the writer discussing a metric-based approach which may help organizations to gauge different risks of cyber activities.

    Discussion Questions:
    1. What does the writer mean by “good enough” security?
    2. Is it possible to eliminate the element of human error in security? What are ways to go about doing so?
    3. Regarding government access of information to thwart terror threats, does security trump privacy? In what scenarios? Why or why not?

    G. Hurlburt, “”Good Enough” Security: The Best We’ll Ever Have,” in Computer, vol. 49, no. 7, pp. 98-101, July 2016.
    doi: 10.1109/MC.2016.212
    keywords: {security of data;consensus-based rating system;cybersecurity;human awareness;security risks;Computer hacking;Encryption;Organizations;Privacy;Standards organizations;Cybertrust;cybercrime;hackers;security},
    URL: http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/stamp/stamp.jsp?tp=&arnumber=7503499&isnumber=7503473

    Digital Object Identifier:

  4. Clifford Winston
    The Journal of Economic Perspectives
    Vol. 5, No. 1 (Winter, 1991), pp. 113-127
    The issue that stands out in America today is the desperate state of the infrastructure. The American Society of Civil Engineers is currently rating the state of America’s infrastructure as a D+. Something drastic needs to happen to inspire change to our infrastructure, to increase its safety, longevity, and efficiency.

  5. Racial segregation is one of the biggest problems Chicago faces in present times. While interracial socialization and interaction has seemed to improve over recent years, gentrification has pushed each community to their own secluded part of town. Neighborhoods are described in terms of race – black, white, Hispanic, Asian etc. – and the only way that such a situation can be remedied is by the unity that is instilled in a people after a disaster.

    Article name:

    “Non-White” Gentrification in Chicago’s Bronzeville and Pilsen: Racial Economy and the Intraurban Contingency of Urban Redevelopment.

    By: Anderson, Matthew B.; Sternberg, Carolina. Urban Affairs Review. May2013, Vol. 49 Issue 3, p435-467. 33p. DOI: 10.1177/1078087412465590. , Database: Academic Search Complete

    Stable URL: https://ezproxy.gl.iit.edu/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=87362193&site=ehost-live

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