Learning from the archives of island jurisdictions: Why and how island history should inform disaster risk reduction and climate action
Foley, Aideen M
Small States & Territories
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Walshe, R., & Foley, A. M. (2021). Learning from the archives of island jurisdictions: Why and how island history should inform disaster risk reduction and climate action. Small States & Territories https://doi.org/10.17863/CAM.78123
There is a growing literature challenging assumptions about what ‘data’ on disaster risks and climate change can be and arguing for the need to account for experiences and knowledge from across deeper history. In this paper, we argue that small island states and sub-national jurisdictions can especially benefit from a broader understanding of what data can be and we illustrate how historical narrative and descriptive data from archives can act as a valuable source of knowledge on disasters and climate, both past, and present. Yet, in order to use (and not misuse) these archival sources, we must first appreciate how islands and their histories have previously been engaged with, and how certain narratives about small islands may have shaped how historical data is engaged with (or not). We critically analyse current approaches when engaging with island histories, with particular consideration of the legacy of colonisation and imperialism, and how this is manifested in historical data and methods. Finally, we explore how island histories can educate and inform, locally and globally, realising connections between communities across time and space. We conclude that narrative and descriptive archival historical data is an invaluable source for understanding island vulnerability and resilience. Without such data, our understanding, and our efforts to address contemporary challenges, are likely to be flawed. However, we caution against elevating any one type of data or disciplinary lens. By combining such data with multiple types of data, both literate and non-literate, we can reach a deeper historical and long-term understanding of disaster risks and climate change in small island states and sub-national island jurisdictions.
Rory Walshe received funding from the ERC [ERC grant number 804162] which supported the development of this paper.
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This record's DOI: https://doi.org/10.17863/CAM.78123
This record's URL: https://www.repository.cam.ac.uk/handle/1810/330678
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