Roundtable Brings Anthropologists and Vancouver’s Lead Seismic Policy Planner Together for a Discussion

Earthquake and Tsunami Aftermaths

It’s been eight years since the Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami in Japan displaced half a million people living near the Fukushima nuclear plant. And nearly 15 years since Sri Lanka was struck by a tsunami resulting in over 30,000 confirmed deaths and 1.5 million people displaced.

One year. Eight years. Fifteen years. After disaster, life goes on. Individuals, communities and countries rebuild and restructure, leaving the time of disaster behind while they incorporate its realities into their everyday lives. What is the relationship between time and transformation in the wake of major natural disasters? How do specific social, political, and economic contexts influence reconstruction?

The roundtable event held on November 21 at UBC brought together diverse approaches to understanding the social elements of disaster aftermaths – with the hope of producing useable knowledge to prepare for future disasters. Speakers shared their anthropological research in India, Sri Lanka, and Japan, followed by a response focused on Vancouver from the city’s lead seismic policy planner.

View the full recording below, as well as media interviews with Dr. Sara Shneiderman and Dr. Chika Watanabe.


TV interview with Dr. Sara Shneiderman on Global News.

Radio interview with Dr. Chika Watanabe on the Jon McComb Show.

Additional information about the roundtable event




This roundtable event was held in conjunction with the American Anthropological Association / Canadian Anthropology Society joint conference. The event was supported by the University of British Columbia’s Faculty of Arts, the School of Public Policy and Global Affairs, the Department of Anthropology, the Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies, and the Museum of Anthropology.